15:40 05.05.2018

SSAU head hopes Canada's MDA meets contract liabilities to launch Lybid satellite

3 min read
SSAU head hopes Canada's MDA meets contract liabilities to launch Lybid satellite

Head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) Pavlo Degtiarenko has said that Canada's MDA is responsible for contract liabilities to launch the first Ukrainian telecommunications satellite Lybid in 2018.

"The only hindering factor is the absence of payments to complete the launch vehicle (LV) by Pivdenmash [Dnipro] for the launch. The general contractor of the project – Canada's MDA – is to solve the task as part of the resumption of works in the project," he told Interfax-Ukraine.

Earlier the SSAU said that the launch of the Ukrainian satellite was scheduled for 2018.

"The launch was to take place in around eight months after the resumption of works under the contract. They have not yet been resumed," he said.

Degtiarenko said that Ukraine has finished its part of the contract, producing the Zenit LV in 2017.

"As a year ago, the LV is in the state suitable for the installation of the first stage engine and the control system," he said.

Russia's Information Satellite Systems recently said that the technical state of the satellite allows demothballing the satellite in the short period of time and prepare it for the launch. Degtiarenko said that this is true.

He said that assumptions of Russian media that the Zenit LV could be replaced by Russia's Proton LV to launch the Lybid satellite are speculations.

"The problem is not in the LV and not in its manufacturer. The problem is that Pivdenmash did not receive the entire sum from the customer for production of the LV," he said.

As reported, the satellite was created under a contract signed by SSAU and Canada's MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) in December 2009. A loan worth $254.6 million was raised from Export Development Canada (EDC) against government guarantees to build the satellite on the Express 1000NT platform, developed by Russia's Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev Company. Since summer 2014, the satellite has been in safe custody at the Russian developer, as was instructed by the Canadian general contractor.

The implementation of the project was under a threat of a failure due to the annexation of Crimea and the loss of land infrastructure involved in the project by Ukraine. Taking additional financial liabilities, Ukraine has overcome force majeure: in 2014-2015 a new spacecraft control center was built on Ukraine's mainland.

Ukraine's government in October 2017 supported SSAU's proposal for additional financing of the project in the amount of $17 million, taking into account increased costs.