Ukraine wants to allow entrepreneurs to launch rockets into space. What does it entail?

A draft law “On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Promotion of Space Activities and Attraction of Investments in the Ukrainian Space Industry” was published on the Verkhovna Rada’s website. Through it, MPs want to allow private companies to launch rockets into space.

In their opinion, this will positively affect the development of the country’s space industry, attract investment in it, and will create new jobs.

Suggested changes

Currently, activities related to the testing, production, and operation of launch vehicles in Ukraine can only be carried out by state-run companies.

The legislators want to eliminate these restrictions.

Key proposals

If the law is adopted, the entities carrying out space activities in Ukraine will be not only state-run companies but also enterprises of any form of ownership and legal form.

Members of the parliament propose to exclude from the law the provisions on licensing space activities. In order to engage in space activities (launching rockets into space, landing and controlling rocket carriers, etc.), entrepreneurs will need to obtain permission from the appropriate authority. If the body does not manage to issue a permit (or refusal) within the time period (15 days) established after the application was submitted, it is proposed to introduce the principle of “tacit consent” – that is, the company will be able to engage in activities without a permit. Also, entrepreneurs will be required to submit declarations stating that they carry out space-related activities. Information from such declarations will be published in the applicable Register.

The law also describes state control procedures for the implementation of foreign economic activity of entrepreneurs in this industry.

The objects of space activities that are produced in Ukraine will be subject to mandatory certification. But only if they are intended for operation inside the country. At the same time, objects produced as part of a foreign order, including units and components thereof, will not be subjected to certification. In this case, the producer will decide if they need the certification.

This can make life easier for companies that manufacture equipment and other products for foreign launch vehicles.

Opinion of Industry’s Representative

Yuriy Zabiyaka, Head of Legal at Noosphere

Everyone has long understood that the monopoly of state-run enterprises on the creation of launch vehicles should have been abolished long ago. But this is rather a political step.

As for the realities and the current law – alas, there is only an obligation to additionally declare activities, to obtain permits for certain types of activities, while maintaining the existing procedures in VED (Types of foreign economic activity) – they even decided to leave obtaining of an archaic permission for negotiations, not to mention the procedure for registering foreign trade contracts in space sphere – that’s where the NSAU [Editor’s note: National Space Agency of Ukraine] may not give permission to negotiate or register contracts – so you should go an appeal their decision! So this can happen now and can happen on the basis of the “new law” in the future for “undesirable” private traders if the draft law is adopted in its current version.

On the bright side, they plan to cancel the mandatory certification for export products.