The war led to a shortage of Rare Earth Elements for the space industry

The Ukrainian-Russian war has negatively affected the supply chain of Rare Earth Elements in the United States. Among the victims of this is the space industry. However, it is possible that our state will be the way to remedy this situation.

Rare Earth Elements

Shortage of Rare Earth Elements

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has numerous consequences in the most unexpected industries. The global space industry has also experienced it. Due to the killings of civilians, the European Space Agency had to stop all joint projects with Russia, including the ExoMars Mars mission. Companies launching spacecraft are experiencing a severe shortage of Antonov wide-body aircraft. And telecommunications companies began to spend huge resources to counter attempts to hack their satellite networks.

One of the still unappreciated crises is the shortage of Rare Earth minerals. 17 elements are not found very often on our planet, and their easy extraction is possible in even fewer cases. And they are necessary for the production of almost all modern equipment: guidance and control systems, lasers, radars and sonars. The space industry also consumes them in large quantities.

Now the USA buys most of the Rare Earth Elements from China. However, logistics chains stretch also through Russia. Now there is a huge strain on them, which manifests itself as a shortage of Rare Earth Elements for certain projects.

USA, China and Ukraine

Currently, out of 35 types of strategic raw materials, the United States imports 31 from China. Eight of them belong to Rare Earth Elements, 14 are simply absent in the United States, and the extraction of the rest is not properly organized. As a result, the slightest difficulties in logistics can provoke a delay in the implementation of space programs or simply provoke an economic crisis.

Sanctions are quite expensive for the United States and the American space industry in particular. Suffice it to say that before the war, the United States received 35 percent of all palladium from Russia. But do not assume that this will force American politicians to support Russia.

After all, a significant amount of strategic resources is supplied to the United States and from Ukraine. And even more can be supplied. In particular, experts point to the presence of large deposits of lithium oxide, which can be used in the production of electric batteries.

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