SpaceQ has learned that senior Ukrainian officials are heading to Canada in November including a stop in Halifax and Guysborough County where Maritime Launch Services (MLS) is proposing to build a spaceport. Among the officials coming is Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Uruskyi, State Space Agency of Ukraine Administrator Vladimir Taftai, and likely Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Before that trip happens, MLS went to the Ukraine this week to set the stage. Representing MLS on the trip was CEO Steve Matier, Dr. Yaroslav Pustovyi, Director of Safety and Sasha Jacob, Chair and CEO of Jacob Capital Management Inc.
Jacob was appointed as the MLS Chair of the Board in April, was an early investor, and has been spearheading efforts to raise capital.
Jacob’s efforts led to MLS announcing this past May that it had received $10.5M in financing led by Power One Capital Markets Limited and Primary Capital Inc. Since then the company has been ramping up its efforts to get construction started as soon as possible on the Nova Scotia based spaceport. At the top of its to do list is completing the environmental requirements the province has assigned to the company. Once that’s done and the province has signed off on the spaceport, construction will begin.
MLS was in the Ukraine this week meeting with senior Ukrainian officials and visiting the Yuzhnoye Design Office and rocket manufacturer Yuzhmash.
The meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Oleg Uruskyi, who is also the Minister for Strategic Industries, was of particular importance for the company. Readers should note that Uruskyi was trained as an engineer and between 2015 to March 2020 was Chairman of the State Space Agency of Ukraine and is therefore well versed on the Ukrainian space program.
Also at the meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister were Yurii Petrovskiy, Deputy Minister of Strategic Industries for European Integration, and Vladimir Taftai, Chairman of the State Space Agency of Ukraine.
It should also be noted that at the recent Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Chairman Taftai met with Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell in a private meeting where the Nova Scotia spaceport was discussed. Based on that meeting, the meeting this week, including comments by the Deputy Prime Minister, It would seem the Ukrainian government is making a strong push for spaceport to move forward.
During the meeting with MLS, Deputy Prime Minister Uruskyi signaled his governments intent to to provide funding to Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash for the continued development of the RD-870 rocket engine that would be used in the first stage of Cyclone 4M launch vehicle.
The RD-870 builds on the heritage of Soviet-era engines designed in the Ukraine. The new first stage engine though burns non-toxic kerosene and cryogenic liquid oxygen.
The funding is part of the National Target Scientific and Technical Space Program of Ukraine for 2021-2025 and which is expected to be approved by the government soon.
After the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Uruskyi posted the following to his Facebook page (Translated by Facebook):
While MLS had hoped to do a groundbreaking ceremony in November, the company still needs to get Nova Scotia to sign off on the environmental conditions. That may not happen in time for what MLS has been planning.
Those plans began to take shape this summer when the Halifax International Security Forum decided that years event would be held in person. The Forum is being held Nov. 19-21 and will included plenary and informal sessions. One of the informal sessions is focused on the Ukraine. With Canada – Ukraine relations getting stronger and with the Ukraine pivoting away from Russian and towards the west, MLS sensed an opportunity. As it turns out the Ukraine was considering sending a delegation to the Forum and possibly to participate in other activities. One of those activities now includes meeting MLS, and possibly Nova Scotia and federal government officials. There’s no government to government meetings announced, but it’s our understanding discussions are underway to make something happen.
Even though MLS might not have the environmental conditions signed-off by the Nova Scotia government by the time the Halifax International Security Forum takes place, the company is still planning to use the event to make several significant announcements. It’s also my understanding that plans are being made for the Ukrainian delegation, and possibly Canadian officials, to take a tour of the proposed spaceport.