15:11 20.11.2020

Ex-head of Space Agency Usov declares blocking reforms in space industry, asks President to deal with situation

4 min read

KYIV. Nov 20 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Former head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) Volodymyr Usov declared the blocking of corporate reform in the space industry and the adoption of the national space program.

"I want to address to the President of Ukraine, because it was in front of him when I made a commitment to carry out systemic reforms in the space industry: both corporate reform and the adoption of the space program. I want to say that these projects are blocked, we are wasting time, and if today we do not change our approaches, the Ukrainian space industry will disappear. There will be several enterprises that will work on old orders, but we will not be able to create new space technology, launch our own spacecraft, get independent access to space, since Ukraine today will not be able to do it itself, only in cooperation with international partners," he said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine news agency.

Usov said that the Space Agency by now has already prepared the necessary package of documents regarding the corporate reform. The concept of corporatization was written, together with the Economy Ministry, a draft law was prepared on the transformation of enterprises in the space industry, and work was also carried out to analyze the corporate governance of the space industry by space enterprises.

"But, unfortunately, all this is blocked at the level of the Ministry for Strategic Industries. Back in the summer we submitted all these documents to start the corporate reform, but already at the end of the year, and we have no results. And this is critically important, because every day we lose resources, and time, and funds, and people," the former head of the agency said.

He also said that the concept of the agency's national space program was presented at the visiting meeting of the Economy Committee in April 2020, and since the summer the draft concept itself, which has been agreed with all key ministries, has been in the Ministry for Strategic Industries.

"Unfortunately, there is no progress on it. Despite the fact that we went through two specialized committees, made corrections, today we do not see any plans for the adoption of the program at the ministerial level," Usov said.

According to him, such actions can lead to very negative consequences, since the window of opportunity in the space industry is two – two and the half years. And if these reforms are not carried out, the Ukrainian space industry will not be competitive at the global level.

"For the nine months of work, our team signed investment agreements for more than $1 billion, but how they will be used, whether the investor will have confidence in the space Agency when they see how decisions are made here, how the personnel policy is formed unsystematically [...] If I were an investor, I would have thought three times before investing in Ukraine after this," the former head of the agency said.

Usov said that among these signed agreements there is an investment agreement with the Korean company Karis for almost $1 billion for the development of electric transport infrastructure at Pivdenmash (state-owned enterprise Makarov Pivdenny Machine-Building Plant, Dnipro) and an agreement with the Czech corporation Vitkovice for over EUR 50 million for the development and manufacture of hydrogen engines using the facilities of Pivdenmash.

"There are also several projects related to rocket and space technology, where Ukraine can take part in the project of new space centers and new launch vehicles," the former head said.

As reported, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, by an order dated November 16, 2020, dismissed Volodymyr Usov as the head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU).