According to The West Australian newspaper, Kiev has been lobbying both Canberra and the northwestern Australian state government of Kimberley for two years now, with its proposals falling on deaf ears.
Ukraine's ambassador to Australia, Nikolai Kulinich, assured the newspaper that the proposal was "very realistic," adding that "Ukraine could launch tomorrow morning if we had a site. We offer our people and our expertise if Australia has land for use."
The Ukrainian Space Agency envisions its Australian spaceport venture becoming Asia's key spaceport, with launches sponsored by Australian, Japanese, Singaporean, South Korean and Indonesian partners. Private investments, as well as contributions from Australia's neighbors and allies, are expected to fund the construction of the spaceport, including its launch pads, hangars and support facilities.
Commenting on the ambitious plan, observers have pointed out that Ukraine's once-proud space industry is but a shadow of its former self following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine's space enterprises, including legendary enterprises like the Yuzhmash rocket plant and the Yuzhnoye design bureau have fallen on particularly hard times after the severing of space and rocketry industry cooperation with Russia in 2014, with many rocket scientists leaving Ukraine in pursuit of better opportunities elsewhere.
Expert opinion aside, social media users aren't too thrilled about the idea either, hatching a series of memes about the lack of realism in Kiev's plan.
Украина предложила Австралии построить космодром— Гена Тимошенко (@koctikkn) 12 марта 2018 г.
Государственное космическое агентство Украины выступило с предложением построить космодром на западе Австралии. https://t.co/n8InDNYEXL pic.twitter.com/VNYb6wCdfA
"Ukraine proposes building a space port in Australia." [Image shows a Star Destroyer from Star Wars with the text 'Glory to Heroes' and 'Stepan Bandera', a Ukrainian WWII-era nationalist leader written on its side].
это чтобы украинские минестерства отчитались: занятость 100%, все укры кроме воюющих со своим населением будут натягивать резинку на рогатке (это будет космодром такой по украинской технологии)— AVSozinov (@AvSozinov72) 12 марта 2018 г.
"This is being done for the Ukrainian ministries to be able to report 100% employment, with all Ukrainians apart from those who are fighting pulling back the rubber band in a slingshot (this will be a cosmodrome using Ukrainian technology)."
Интересно бы узнать, за чей счет предполагается сея пьянка?? Нищая страна, живущая на подачки ЕС желает вложиться в космодром??— Nikonor (@Nikonor_N) 12 марта 2018 г.
"It would be interesting to know who's going to pay for this binge. Ukraine, a poor country living on handouts from the EU, wants to invest in a spaceport??"
А чё не в Антарктиде???🤡🤡🤡— ЛАРИСА ПЕРЕРВА (@RuLoric) 12 марта 2018 г.
"Why not build it in Antarctica instead???"
Ukrainian Space Agency representatives are expected to visit Australia later this year to further lobby the spaceport idea.