During the years of the USSR, Ukraine was the most important republic outside the Russian Federation contributing to the vast Soviet space program. The National Space Agency of Ukraine (NKAU) was formed on 2 March 1992, but, despite Ukraine's extensive space infrastructure and continuing support to the Russian Federation, the national space program has been slow to develop. By the end of 1994, Ukraine was anticipating the launch of its first domestic satellite and was rapidly forging bilateral and commercial agreements which could lead to a much stronger space program within the next few years.
The first Director General of NKAU, Volodymir P. Gorbulin, was active in several top level government roles until his appointment as Secretary of the National Security Council in October, 1994. Consequently, the acting head of NKAU for much of 1994 was his deputy Andrei Zhalko-Tytarenko. Gorbulin, Zhalko Tytarenko, and newly elected Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma (July, 1994) all held senior management positions at the Yuzhnoye NPO in Dnepropetrovsk, the heart of Ukraine's space industry. Although a specific military space organization has not yet been created, movement in that direction has begun (References 106-111). Ukraine's immediate plans are to launch an Earth observation satellite in 1995 and at least two communications satellites by the end of the decade. The Yuzhnoye NPO has already produced more than 400 Earth satellites dedicated to remote sensing, scientific, and national (USSR/CIS) security objectives. The firm is also the principal manufacturer of the Tsyklon and Zenit launch vehicles as well as the RS-20 ICBM which may soon see service as a space launch vehicle under the name SS-18K. Ukraine is also the home to the Yevpatorlya Deep Space Control Center, several TT&C facilities formerly belonging to the Soviet Ministry of Defense, and radar, optical, and electro-optical space surveillance complexes. The major space infrastructure element missing is a space launch facility. In the near-term, Ukrainian boosters will be constrained to operations from the Russian Plesetsk Cosmodrome and the Kazakh-Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome, but alternatives, such as sea-based or new fixed foreign-based launches of Zenit are under active consideration.
Ukraine has sought to expand cooperative space programs not only with the Russian Federation but also with the US, India, Australia, and the International Space Station program. An agreement signed in 1994 with the US may lead to a Ukrainian cosmonaut on a STS mission in 1997, while another pact with India could result in the establishment of a Ukrainian-run Zenit launch facility in India. Zenit launchers have also been selected for support of the ISS, and space welding techniques developed by the Paton Institute of Electric Welding in Kiev are being considered by NASA for future construction projects in Earth orbit (References 112-118).
The principal centers of Urkainian space industry are located in Dnepropetrovsk, Kiev, and Kharkov. Ukraine hopes to finance many of its proposed space programs through commercial ventures. The requested national space budget for 1993 was 36 million Ukrainian Rubles (Reference 119).
106. Pravda Ukrainy, 11 April 1992, p. 2.
107. Demokratychna Ukrayina, 11 April 1992, p. 1 -2.
108. G. Klyuchikov, Narodnaya Armiya, 10 April 1993, pp.1-2.
109. UNIAN News Agency, 3 September 1993.
110. S. Zgurets, Narodnaya Armiya, 15 December 1993, p. 3.
111. V. Pikhovshek, Most, 1-7 May 1995, pp. 3-5.
112. T. Hitchens and A. Lawler, "U.S. Offers Ukraine Space Cooperation", Space News, 8-14 August 1994, pp. 3, 20.
113. P. Mann, "U.S., Ukraine Sign Space Pact", Aviation Week and Space Technology, 28 November 1994, pp. 26-27.
114 Interfax News Agency, 20 September 1994.
115. "Space Welding Tools", Spaceflight, February 1995, p. 68.
116. "Ukrainian Space Tool To Be Tested on Shuttles", Space News, 5-11 June 1995, p.14.
117. UKRINFORM, 17 January 1995.
118. P. Beba and A. Chryva, Uryadovyy Kuryer, 4 March 1995, p. 7.
119. Vechernly Kiyev, 10 April 1993, pp. 1, 4.