High-Level Argentine Delegation to Visit Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center

By José Monserrat Filho
Head of International Cooperation Cooperation
Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)

On Thursday, March 15, a high-level delegation of Argentina will visit the Alcantara Launch Center (CLA) in Maranhao, considered one of the most privileged of the world space launch insurance, economic and competitive.

The tour meets at the invitation, in 2011, then President of the Brazilian Space Agency, Marco Antonio Raupp, now Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry on cooperation between the two countries for the peaceful uses of outer space.

The visiting delegation will be headed by Ambassador Luis María Kreckler, representative of the Government of Argentina in Brasilia. Its other members are: Gustavo Eduardo Ainchil, Minister, Director of International Security, Nuclear and Space Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Conrado Franco Varotto, physical, Executive Director and Technical National Commission on Space Activities (CONAE); Brigadier General Genaro Sciola, Board member CONAE; two Ministers of the Argentine Embassy in Brasilia, Fernando Brun and Fabián Oddone (Consul General and coordinator of the Foreign Policy Affairs, Defence and Security); and the Secretary Jorge Maximiliano Rodriguez Alaniz.

On behalf of Brazil, the Argentine delegation will accompany the representatives of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Science, Technology and Innovation, and the Brazilian Space Agency.

This is the first visit to the CLA of an official delegation of Argentina.

Visitors will learn about the existing facilities and those under construction at the CLA, and participated in a scenic helicopter overflight of Alcantara to take a broad view of the region and the whole project. The main building is the Technical Center, which occupies an area of ​​about 10,000 m2 on three floors. It is the epicenter of the complete set of stations. There will be made to the Argentines presentations on the history, evolution and potential of CLA, revealing data, images and perspectives of programs and projects in progress.

In the new center Comando Control and Launches, are the terminals of all systems in an integrated and synchronized. The vision of the new and modern launch pad for the VSL-1 and launchers that may follow is impressive. A special platform to launch the Cyclone 4 in 2013, is under construction and will also be seen by the Argentine delegation. The Cyclone 4 is the result of cooperation between Brazil and Ukraine, and seeks to enter the world market for commercial launches, with an option that can ensure safety and competitive price.

The Argentine delegation will also have opportunity to visit the ancient city of Alcantara, a historical relic of colonial times.

The CLA may prove to be an important part of the Brazil-Argentina cooperation in space, is more ambitious and audacious goals are adopted each other. Launchers and satellites of the Argentine space program certainly have considerable benefits and gains to be launched at the CLA, starting with the advantages of the very geography of the place, which allows both equatorial and polar launches, with a high level of security.

The Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana, is defined as “The Gateway to the European Space”, as set out at the top of its majestic entrance gate.

For the Space Center (CLA) can now be seen as “The Gateway to Latin American Space.”

The CLA offers all the conditions and qualities to encourage the development of space programs of the countries of the region. And Argentina, in particular, has everything to become the first country on the continent to be able to envision concrete gains and effective with this kind of integration. The idea seems promising and seductive. There is not only possible but likely true. Then it’s time to sit and talk.

The visit to the CLA may be the beginning of a great leap in cooperation between Brazil and Argentina. A jump can reach outer space, where we can take – together – riches, valuable data and services of first necessity.