No one can underestimate the role of Ukraine in the Cold war. It was the source of rockets that the Soviet military used during the war. However, Ukraine’s aerospace industry was a distant second to Russia during the Soviet era. The collapse of the Communist super state in 1991 meant that Ukraine lost both the market for its rocket and state funding for the aerospace industry.
But, it was not only the collapse of the Soviet Union that affected Ukraine’s aerospace industry. Political instability and corruption that plagued the country for an extended period further dented any hope of having a stable aerospace industry. Its ongoing war with Russia, who is the primary client and business partner, has made things worse. But, Ukraine’s intellectual legacy based on its high-quality technical and scientific education offers hope that the country can regain its glory.
Although Ukraine’s aerospace industry is under the firm grip of the state, one man is determined to make the country soar again. Max Polyakov is not a stranger to the space industry. He is a partner at Noosphere Ventures, an investment company that focuses on the space ecosystem. Max, through Noosphere Ventures, co-founded Firefly Aerospace, which develops small satellite launch vehicles. The father of four also founded and sold several startups, including social and gaming companies. Polyakov, who believes in success, has turned to his troubled home country to offer technical support.
Dnipro is an imperative region in Ukraine’s rocketry history. For this reason, Max built up an investigation and advancement center within the region for the Firefly ventures. Approximately 150 specialists, most of who are local Ukrainians, are working at the R&D center to create an innovation that may fire Firefly Aviation to the best of the showcase. Max accepts that having the Ukrainians working at the station in a nation where they were born will create a sense of reason. Too, the inquire about and advancement center will act as an establishment for the developing era.
The R&D center is part of the Noosphere’s investment in Ukrainian intellect. The company also partnered with top universities, Dnipro National University, and Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, to foster students’ interest in space. Apart from investing in the youths, Firefly has partnered with Yuzhmash in a $15 million contract. In this deal, Yuzhmash facility will produce 100 combustion chambers and other rocket parts to be used by Firefly. This partnership could be the beginning of cooperation between the state and private space companies.
Image Credits: OZY