South Korea successfully launched a locally developed 75-ton space rocket engine which is comparable to a SpaceX Falcon 1. The orbital rocket KSLV-II (Korea Satellite Launch Vehicle) is also known as Nuri. The rocket is 25.8 meters tall and has a diameter of 2.6 meters and weighs more than 52 tons.
South Korean media did not discuss it but Ukrainian engineers and Ukrainian companies have provided a lot of assistance and cooperation on the design of the airframe and the engine technology.
The South Korean-Ukrainian rocket program should lead to a SpaceX Falcon 9 block 5 class rocket in perhaps ten years.
Ukrainian engineering was a significant part of the USSR air force, missile and rocket programs. Ukraine has the Zenit rocket and several other rocket designs.
Ukraine’s space industry flagships – the Yuzhnoye design office, the Yuzhny engineering plant and a number of leading aerospace companies in Kharkiv – ended up in direct proximity to the war zone.
In 2015, all defense contracts with Russia were suspended. Production of the Dnipro and Dnipro-1 rockets (modifications of the world-famous “Satan”) was frozen. The launch of the Lybid telecoms satellite was postponed indefinitely and the satellite itself is still in Russia. In 2015 Ukraine lost two international contracts at once: Sea Launch and the joint Ukrainian-Brazilian Alcantara project.
Now Ukraine rocket and airplane industry is coming back with deals with South Korea, Canada and China.
Ukrainian Engineering is the Secret Sauce for many Chinese rockets and military planes
Ukrainian sources are in the background helping many countries with rocket and aviation developments.
Ukraine is one of 10 countries with full-cycle rocket production capabilities, and in the years before the crisis of 2014 its aerospace companies earned over $600 million for the government annually.
China first twelve JL-10s trainer jets are powered by Ukrainian jet engines. The supersonic trainer is also known as the L-15. The deal for trainer engines was concluded in 2016 with Ukraine’s Motor Sich company in Zaporizhzhya when the first 20 engines were supplied. The $380 million deal calls for a total of 250 engines for the trainers. Ukraine recently delayed China’s attempt to buy Motor Sich.
China remains a major arms buyer from Ukraine. In addition to JL-15 engines, recent Ukraine-China arms transfers have included some 50 diesel engines for tanks, and gas turbines for Luyang-2 and Luyang-3 guided missile destroyers.
In 2009, China bought two large Zubr-class hovercraft landing ships that were shipped to China shortly before Russia launched its covert military takeover of the Crimean peninsula.
Two more landing craft will be built in China under Ukrainian supervision. China also spent $45 million in 2016 to Ukraine’s state-owned Ukroboronprom for three Il-78M aerial refueling tankers.
The Chinese navy said in a statement last week that the JL-10s were commissioned in a ceremony at the Naval Aviation University in Shandong province.
The twin-engine JL-10 is powered by two Ukraine-made Ivchenko-Progress AI-222-25F turbofan engines. The jet is used for training Chinese navy pilots to flight the J-15 carrier-based fighter jet.
Canada’s Spaceport and Rocket Program
The developers of Canada’s only commercial spaceport are shooting for as many as a dozen rockets to blast off per year from a proposed site near Canso, a small community on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore.
Rocket designers and engineers from Ukrainian-based Yuzhnoye Design are helping Canada’s Maritime Launch Service with Cyclone 4 rockets.
The Ukrainian firm is prepared to ramp up its production of Cyclone-4M medium-lift rockets to supply the site.
Ukraine has great jet engine, missile and space rocket know-how. It has only been lack of financing which has been holding them back.
A Ukrainian airplane and rocket industry with solid commercial success would enable Ukraine to start following the Israeli model of industrial development.