In August 2016 upon the initiative of Yuzhnoye SDO, the State Space Agency of Ukraine has approved the “Decision on further steps in search of new launch site for the Cyclone-4 of space launch system”. According to this decision, Yuzhnoye SDO initiated a number of activities with the intent to find commercial investors and new locations for implementation of the Cyclone-4 type of project.
Yuzhnoye SDO performed a launch services market assessment, searched for relevant launch site locations, assessed the ways to reduce the costs associated with development of launch vehicle and launch site, analyzed the requirements and issues raised by the potential investors and “hosting countries”, worked to resolve the great number of other technical and legal issues.
Through more than a year of hard work, Yuzhnoye SDO was able to outline the concept of the launch vehicle that would satisfy the current demand and trends of global launch services market as well as meet the key requirements of the potential commercial investors: tight schedule and budget for the project.
The new launch vehicle was tentatively named Cyclone-4M, as certain inheritance from the development of Cyclone family of vehicles is expected to be employed together with the other proven solutions by Yuzhnoye SDO.
This renewed and all-commercial project, presented by Yuzhnoye SDO, was well received by the world space community. Several launch services customers have already expressed their potential interest in Cyclone-4M launch services.
The following are the unique features of Cyclone-4M:
- low Earth orbit-oriented launch vehicle (including sun-synchronous orbit and International Space Station orbit, if required);
- capable to launch single SC, as well as SC aggregation for the purpose of SC constellation deployment;
- new two staged design of the launch vehicle based on proven elements and solutions;
- transition to “ecologically friendly” propellants;
- launch vehicle can be manufactured completely by Ukrainian companies.
Cyclone-4M LV launch site is a new development.
Maritime Launch Services Ltd., Canada (MLS) expressed interest and on its own discretion decided to pursue this project using its own capital and financial investments from commercial sources.
The number of Canadian, American and Ukrainian companies are intended to join the cooperation in order to develop the new space launch system. Yuzhnoye SDO will be responsible for design, development and operations of the launch vehicle and the launch site facilities and systems. Yuzhmash will act as a Cyclone-4M LV supplier for MLS.
Commissioning of the space launch system for trial operations is scheduled for 2020.
Initial negotiations and considerable amount of other initial activities, related to organization of Cyclone-4M space launch system development in Canada (Canso, Nova Scotia) were already conducted by MLS, with participation of Yuzhnoye SDO and a number of Canadian and American companies. A series of work meetings were held with representatives of various authorities and communities of Canada.
As of today, general public, federal and local authorities express their full support and interest in implementation of Cyclone-4M project in the territory of Canada. Currently MLS is preparing to submit application for lease of Federal (Crown) land for the launch site development, and has already initiated the procedure in order to obtain the relevant documents.
According to Yuzhnoye SDO estimates, the implementation of Cyclone-4M project can provide additional opportunities for the Ukrainian aerospace industry development, as well as bring new commercial contracts for the Ukrainian aerospace companies. In particular, Yuzhmash will have the opportunity to increase gradually the workload for the company, beginning from the manufacturing of test hardware, followed by the production of 6-8 launch vehicles per year in future.