Space Industry Bands Together to Provide Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine
The National Security Space Association, at the behest of a member, started a fund to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians. Using donations from NSSA member companies, the Space Industry for Ukraine initiative will provide on-the-ground support.
The National Security Space Association and several companies in the industry have formed the Space Industry for Ukraine (SIFU) initiative [PDF]. Its goal is to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians enduring the Russian attack, as well as those who have escaped to bordering Poland.
“In the span of about three weeks, we were able to amass about $900,000,” said Steve Jacques, Executive Director of NSSA.
Jacques said the idea for SIFU was the brainchild of John Serafini, CEO of Hawkeye 360, an NSSA member company. Serafini visited Ukraine a few weeks ago, and after returning, he talked to Jacques about the need for NSSA and others in the industry to offer help.
“It was a no-brainer for John and a no-brainer for me,” Jacques said. “John already had half a plan. All we needed to do was get together and get organized and use the power of our members collectively.”
With that in mind, the two put together some information about the SIFU initiative and began reaching out to NSSA members, who responded swiftly to the call for donations. SIFU is now determining which projects to allocate the funds to.
“We’re now at the phase where we’re going to review the list of candidate humanitarian projects,” Jacques said. The list of projects they can provide aid to is varied. For example, some projects are focused on providing basic shelter at entry points to Poland, while others are centered on food and medical aid.
“One project is retrofitting a vehicle to make it an ambulance, and then to supply that ambulance with all the medical gear that needs to be in an ambulance,” Jacques said.
Since starting the initiative in April, the group has realized it may want to make a few changes to the scope of the projects they take on.
“We were thinking early on, ‘Let’s find a couple good projects and get them done,’” Jacques said. “As we’ve been discussing it, we’re looking at probably dropping out of a few smaller projects, just to say, ‘Let’s do a little crawling and walking before running.’”
Jacques said NSSA is proud of the companies who’ve taken initiative to contribute, and the hope is to complete the projects over the next three months, so they’ll have real-time impact.
“Even if [Russian President Vladimir] Putin were to pull out right now—and he’s not going to—there will still be foreign aid needed,” Jacques said. “Our focus is on affordable projects that will have value to the people on the ground as they need it.”
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