In 2023, a Ukrainian space tractor will appear in Earth's orbit, which will dock with satellites, carry out their diagnostics and maintenance, and, if necessary, send them to the upper atmosphere for disposal. Like informs Forbes, this is exactly the task set by the startup Kurs Orbital, registered in early March by the former head of the Ukrainian space agency Vladimir Usov.
The advantage of Kurs Orbital, according to Usov, is that there is no need to spend billions of dollars to develop a new docking system. The market is experiencing a shortage of orbital service providers, despite the fact that the service is in demand.
The technological basis of a startup is the "Course" convergence system, developed in the mid-1980s in the USSR. With its help, more than 300 successful docks of the Soyuz and Progress spacecraft with the Mir and ISS stations were carried out. The key role in the implementation of the project is assigned to NPK Kurs.
The main beneficiary of Kurs Orbital is Vadim Vasiliev. A graduate of the Faculty of Cybernetics of the Kiev National University, he heads the Association of high-tech enterprises and organizations of Ukraine "Cosmos", and is also a co-owner of three founders of the company - Kiev Radio Plant, NPK Kurs and Elmiz. In the 1990s - 2000s, Vasiliev worked for more than 10 years in the State Property Fund of Ukraine.
If all goes according to plan, Kurs Orbital will carry out its first commercial in-orbit maintenance mission in 2025. By 2029, Usov expects to place a group of four "tractors" in orbit. To do this, according to his calculations, the project will need to attract about $ 120 million.