One year of war in Ukraine - impact on NewSpace

Published on Tue, 28.02.2023 – 21:48 CET in Politics, covering Europa

About a year ago, Russia unjustly invaded Ukraine. This war did not leave the international space community unscathed. Whether the changes will have a long-term impact on the NewSpace ecosystem remains to be seen. At least in the short term, the industry seems to have adapted to the new situation. It also shows that even in these difficult times, space can provide at least a small bridge.

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In October 2022, the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) published the report "The War in Ukraine from a Space Cybersecurity Perspective." As can be read in the introduction, Russia also carried out a cyber attack at the time of the invasion of Ukraine. This attack on space infrastructure shows that military conflicts are not only being fought on Earth, but also in space. While the attack received little public attention, it sparked a broader debate in the space community. The previously theoretical considerations of cybersecurity in space and the protection of critical infrastructure were suddenly confronted with a concrete example. This is analyzed in detail in the ESPI short report - although the authors emphasize that the findings are based on freely available information due to the constantly changing situation.

Moderate impact in NewSpace

In a non-representative survey by Astrodrom, the impact of the Ukraine war on NewSpace was found to be limited. Although price increases due to inflation are being felt, supply chains are largely stable. No orders have been canceled so far, but some companies are seeing applications from skilled workers from Ukraine. All in all, it is clear that the aerospace industry is enjoying a tailwind even in the current situation. At the political level, too, there seems to be a recognition that Europe's sovereign access to space is needed more than ever.

For one thing, Soyuz flights are not available for the time being, and the last Ariane 5 flights are fully booked. When - and if - its successor, Ariane 6, will be operational is still written in the stars. However, launch capacity is urgently needed for the planned construction of numerous satellite constellations such as IRIS2. These could be added as early as the end of this year. Both the Augsburg rocket factory and Isar Aerospace are planning their first flights for the fourth quarter of 2023.

Header Image Credit: Planet
Written by M. Weissflog
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