Why cooperation between Ukraine and the European Space Agency is beneficial to both participants in the process-analytical report

The Noosphere Venture Fund has published an analytical report on the possibility of cooperation between the Ukrainian space segment and the European space segment. We publish a translation of its abridged version.

Ukrainians are not only a courageous nation, which surprises the whole world with its resilience in the confrontation with one of the strongest armies in the world, but it is also an avid one before work and study. We not only fight back against the enemy at the front, but also study, work and look for new opportunities for development. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has stopped cooperation with Roscosmos, this opens up new prospects for Europe and Ukraine. Let’s figure out how that kind of cooperation in the field of space will be useful for both sides.

Source: ESA

Ukraine has been passing a long way of development and formation since its independence. It already established itself as an equal participant in international processes and programs. Ukraine is also strong in technical and scientific aspects. It has huge experience and technical base for the development of the space sector. The experience has already been collected over three generations.

But cooperation with our country is of a pinpoint nature. Thus, there is a loss of opportunities and mutual benefits from using the potential of all participants in joint projects – for the sake of which technological unions between countries, such as the European Space Agency, are created.

Ukraine will be the one of the biggest forces of ESA

The space sector of Ukraine has been developing steadily in recent years. Prior to the full-scale war, the government approved a budget for the country’s 5-year space strategy. According to this, it was planned to finance the entire sector by €151 million only in 2022. And after the end of the war, this figure is likely to increase. Thus, Ukraine can co-finance ESA programs and will became one of the top 10 European countries in this regard.

Factors guaranteeing the development of the space sector of Ukraine:

Ukraine has a great space heritage. Government enterprises have a huge legacy in the space sector since the days of the USSR. In addition, 3 generations of engineers have grown up in the country. They are hungry for new developments and adapting old technologies to modern requirements.

The government promotes the development of the space industry in the country. One of the first laws passed during Zelensky’s term was the Law on the Regulation of Space Activities, which allowed private companies to engage in space technology and led to the emergence of dozens of private space companies.

After the war with Russia, Ukraine is obliged to build up its forces in space. The war with Russia showed how important it is to have own space technologies and dual-use technologies due to a number of reasons.

Factors that hindered the development of the space industry in Ukraine:

“Loneliness” of Ukraine in this sector. The development of space technology without permanent international partners and the exchange of expertise is a daunting task. Failure of the Russian Federation to fulfill its obligations. Russia has let Ukraine down in all joint projects (Lybid, Sealaunch etc.).

Benefits from Ukrainian contribution in ESA


  • Ukrainian will be a top-10 ESA countries by its investments in space activities.
  • Access to the modern, common applicable and inexpensive Ukrainian aerospace RnD centers/facilities.
  • Experienced, but cost effective workforce (cost in EU is 7 times higher per month).
  • Simple iteration with contractors (work with 1 company – get experience and knowledge of the whole niche cluster).

Access to the Ukrainian Expertise and Technology Transfer

Ukraine could become a subcontractor for the important components as thrusters, electric thrusters,
chemical engines, satellite adapters, in-orbit service etc. Air launch IP and technologies (Air launch, Mriya projects) for different inclination orbit for countries without its own capabilities.

Access to the VAS company and its expertise of the submeter images processing for military needs. Ukrainian experienced staff, already involved in the international space projects as an advisors and mentors.

Speed up the development of the current ESA Projects

After the breakup of relations with Roscosmos, the Europeans faced difficulties that can be solved if they cooperate with Ukraine. Our country can easily replace Russian contractors. Thus, the joint work is going to make it possible to resume the Exomars mission, because the technology of landing on the moon exists in Ukraine. For the Ariel project, we can supply our own chemical engine, as well as provide more satellite data for the Copernicus program.

Strength ESA position in front of USA and China

Another advantage for the European Space Agency is the increase in the number of experienced personnel, because Ukraine has had expertise since 1950. This will help stop the migration of specialists to Asia and the USA and help attract them to projects.

In addition, ESA will get access to IP, which will help avoid technology transfer to Asian markets. The logistical advantages of cooperation are also obvious – easy and fast transportation of space equipment and components by land, air or sea transport, even heavy cargo. Ukraine will become a regular customer of ESA launches – the launch of 7 Earth observation satellites with plans to increase capabilities and replace Space X.

Ukrainian experience in the ESA cooperation

UA is working with ESA since 1999 under its standards and certifications. It is informal member of the ESA for a long time, but both sides don’t get all benefits until Ukraine becomes its fully legitimate member.

Existing projects with ESA:

  • Mriya – potential air launch project
  • Member of the Lunar Moon Village Association with the Moon Village modules concept since 2018
  • SES-17 – Ukrainian FED was a subcontractor for Thales Alenia Space (supply of thermal hydraulic accumulator) in 2021
  • Horizon 2020 – composite developments since 2016
  • Vega – forth stage engine development by Yuzhnoye SDO and Yuzhmash since 2012
  • Galileo – Ukraine is an operator of RIMS since 1999

How Poland‘s accession to the ESA affected the country‘s space industry

Poland’s cooperation with ESA began in 1994, and the country became a full member in 2012. Prior to that, it was represented by only a few scientific institutes prior. Joining the ESA had a significant impact on the Poland ‘s space industry. Presented Poland companies to the European market, that lead to
verification of its technologies on the international market.

The country was mentored by ESA, which guided the development of the space industry in the country. Now Poland is ready to independently manufacture scientific Nano-Satellites and larger remote sensing satellites (MikroGlob), and communication satellites (EXATEL).

Students gained access to European space education programs. And commercialization of the Polish space industry, which contributed to the rapid growth of new companies. Its progress is obvious, because it has grown from several research institutes to 66 private space companies in the country.

Poland has been given the opportunity to participate in ESA tenders, and the number of Polish companies registered in the ESA EMITS tender system has increased more than 10 times since 2012. The country gained access to the European LV (Vega) to launch its first satellite.

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