DUBAI, – Earth’s Moon will host the most opportunities for commercial space exploration over the coming decades, says Ukraine’s Pavlo Tanasyuk, founder and CEO of privately-funded UK firm Spacebit.
“There will be other opportunities going beyond the Moon, such as Mars – and maybe Europa [one of Jupiter’s moons] and some asteroids,” said Tanasyuk, speaking to the Expo News Service.
He added: “In terms of the commercial exploration in the short term – and for space, we’re talking 20-30 years – it would be the Moon, because it’s the most viable, it’s full of resources, and you can build a base there. So, I would bet on the Moon, and I would run consecutive missions around then. And then, obviously, we’ll go beyond if there is commercial importance as well.”
Tanasyuk’s comments came during Ukraine’s National Day at Expo 2020, a whole day during the World Expo comprising cultural performances, discussions, and other activations related to Ukraine – and an opportunity for the Ukraine Pavilion to fall under the spotlight.
With Expo’s National Day for Ukraine taking place on 4 October, it became a moment of celebration for the ambitious Eastern European country.
Developing space robotics technology for lunar and planetary exploration, Spacebit – founded by Tanasyuk in 2014 – has two upcoming missions in 2022.
One is a British/Ukrainian mission with a fixed payload, weighing roughly 1.5 kg, consisting of a Ukrainian-made titanium pole and the national flag, alongside various Ukrainian innovations for taking photographs and measuring radiation and ambient lunar surface temperatures.
The other mission – British, with various Ukrainian components – is a lesson in robotics, its goal to deliver the world’s smallest four-legged lunar rover, named Asagumo, to the surface of the moon.
Tanasyuk added: “Both payloads were relatively complex to develop. The rover payload took the longest, and it’s now more than three years in development. Obviously, we had some issues with the supply chain during the pandemic. It’s very complicated, the first walking rover – nothing like this has existed before.”