The Ukrainian Zenit rockets that Russia traditionally orders for space launches under the Sea Launch program will no longer be used under the federal space program, the Slon publication reports, citing Izvestiya. The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roskosmos) has rejected a deal at the last moment, arguing that Ukrainians were demanding too much money - about RUB 2.8 billion (USD 85.4 million) - for two rockets.
Kiev is puzzled because Zenit is assembled almost entirely from Russian components, and the prices of the rockets are rising in accordance with increases in the prices of the components.
"The cost of our work has not increased in recent years. All the price increase is due to supplies from Russia, where we buy 70% of the components and materials,” said Yuzhmash’s Deputy Director General Serhii Voit.
The Energia corporation proposes using a new Russian rocket that does not yet exist instead of the Zenit rockets. "Possible cooperation on development and mass production could involve the Energia Rocket and Space Corporation - the main organization for the complex as a whole, the launch vehicle, and the head part, and the booster,” the company’s documents state.
Roskosmos considers this proposal reasonable. However, experts believe that it will be an odd decision. "The Sea Launch complex was created specifically for the Zenit. One can say that this was all the intrigue of the project,” Andrei Ionin, a leading analyst with NP GLONASS.
The decision to stop using the Zenit emerged immediately after Ukraine refused to sign the association agreement with the European Union and internal troops used force against people protesting against the decision not to sign the agreement, the newspaper notes.