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Ukraine Plans to Launch Communications Satellite “Lybid” in 2019

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For this to be possible, it needs to resume cooperation with the Canadian contractor company.

The State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) plans to launch the first Ukrainian communications satellite “Lybid” in August next year. This will be possible if the Canadian contractor resumes its work on the project before the end of this year. It was stated by Pavel Degtyarenko, Chairman of the State Space Agency.

“For a start, we need to invite the Canadians to the project (the Canadian contractor MDA Corporation), we have almost a year to establish a dialogue with them, and then eight months will be spent on preparing this launch (of the “Lybid” satellite). Once we can resume dialogue with our contractor this year, we will be able to prepare the launch and roughly in August next year we will send the vehicle into space”, as he said.

At the same time, according to him, a pessimistic scenario for the project implementation is possible as well.

“The worst scenario is that they (the Canadian contractor MDA Corporation) will begin to oppose, so we will finish the trial in the London Court of Arbitration, and I’m looking forward to winning it. They will pay back our money, being liable to construct a new vehicle”, as he stated.

As previously reported, in 2009 the State Space Agency of Ukraine and the Canadian corporation “MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates” (MDA) signed an agreement to design a national satellite communications system “Lybid”. The MDA acted as the general contractor. Under that contract, all issues relative to designing and launching satellite were within the MDA’s competence, which was committed to handing over the satellite to the customer – the Ukrainian space enterprise “Ukrkosmos” – after putting it into orbit.

The project funding, secured by the borrowed government funds in 2009, guaranteed a loan of USD 254.6 million received from the export agency Export Development Canada (EDS).

Initially, the launch of the “Lybid” satellite was scheduled for 2012, but the date was repeatedly rescheduled for various reasons.

In 2017 it became aware that the launch of the first Ukrainian satellite into orbit was impossible because of the Canadian party’s failure to fulfill its obligations due to financial troubles.

For the time being, the “Lybid” is constructed, and remains in the safe custody of the Russian company “Information Satellite Systems – Reshetnev Company” (ISS) in Krasnoyarsk. According to Nikolay Testoyedov, Director General of ISS, the period of storage expires very soon and requires its extension.