Brazil Briefs: Budget Figures, VLS Progress and Indian Cooperation

Some updates on the Brazilian space program:

  • Officials have budgeted $2.2 billion over the next three years for the nation’s space program, according to press reports. The largest chunk of the funds will go toward efforts to launch Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center. The inaugural flight is currently scheduled for late 2013. Another key priority is the CBERS-3 environmental satellite that Brazil is developing with China.
  • On March 29, engineers conducted the second test on the separation of the four drives of the first stage of the new VLS-1 rocket, a small satellite booster set to make its inaugural flight later this year. “Measurements were made of mechanical shock, vibration, almost static, distortion, simultaneous separation of the four drivers of the first stage, displacement, and the cover photo and video (HD and high speed),” according a press statement.
  • Brazil and India have agreed to strengthen cooperation in “such as remote sensing, data sharing and weather,” according to a joint communique issued after a summit between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “Brazil reiterated the desire to receive satellite images from Indian ResourceSat-2, given the successful cooperation in receiving data from an in-ResourceSat Ground Station Cuiabá. With regard to IBSA Satellite Project, the two leaders expressed their great interest in working together for the success of the program. A technical meeting is to be held in Bangalore in 2012.”
  • The two leaders also agreed to Indian cooperate in Brazil’s Science Without Borders program, under which the South American country seeks to educate 75,000 students abroad. The cooperation will involve an exchange of students and educators between the two nations and other educational activities.

 

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.

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Brazil Sends Students to Study Rocketry in Ukraine

Editor’s Note: Brazil took a small, but significant, step this month in building up its domestic space capability by sending 10 aerospace engineering students to study in Ukraine.

The two nations are working on a joint project to launch the Ukrainian Cyclone-4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center.

The foreign exchange program is part of a much larger national program, Science Without Borders, that aims to educate scientists, engineers, technicians and others overseas to build up Brazil’s technical capabilities and competitiveness.

A report from the Brazilian Space Agency on the aerospace education exchange follows after the break.

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VLS-1 Launch Complex Readied at Alcantara

IAE PR — System Platform Release VLS-1 (SISPLAT) is nearing completion at the Alcantara Launch Center (CLA). The panels are already physically installed, the installed lighting, cameras installed Closed Circuit TV system, air conditioning and pressurization installed, Detection and Alarm Fire Fighting in the final stage, a protection system against lightning strikes in the final stage. According to the schedule of the Consortium JARAGUÁ / LAVITTA, will start next October to start tweaking and testing the installation of the automation system.

These activities will take place until late December or early January 2012. Concluded this phase is planned to integrate the mock-up (MIR), to receive the final piece in the months of March and April. This integration is only possible in March because it is the same mock-up that is in separation tests.

Ukraine Defense Minister Guarantees $250 Million for Joint Rocket Effort

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket

Brazilian Ministry of Defense PR — On a visit to the Brazilian Ministry of Defense, Defense Minister of Ukraine, Mykhailo Yezhel Bronislavovych, said today that Ukraine is transferring its part of investment in Alcântara Cyclone Space (ACS), a binational company created to market business services from rocket and satellite Maranhão.

“We have the resources of U.S. $250 million to be invested from October. We are also open to transfer technology to a new satellite launcher, the Cyclone 5, which will be produced jointly with Brazil,” he said.

The Brazilian Defense Minister, Celso Amorim, said that ACS is a strategic project for Brazil.

“Most of the program is under the control of the Brazilian Space Agency, the Defense Ministry has only a small share, but the promised contribution is excellent news, which bodes well for technological cooperation between the two countries,” he said.

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Alcântara: The Spaceport of the Future?

Charles de Gaulle -- not one of Brazil's biggest fans.

“Brazil is the country of the future…and always will be.”

So wryly observed Charles de Gaulle decades ago, marveling at how South America’s largest country, blessed with enormous resources and an industrious population, was forever failing to live up to enormous potential.

Brazil seems to be on the verge of ending that cycle. Economic and political reforms of the past decade have put the nation firmly on the path to becoming a regional and global power. During the next five years, Brazil will shine on the global stage as it hosts two of the world’s greatest sporting events, the Summer Olympics and the soccer World Cup.

And yet amid the optimism, the nation’s future is clouded by a lack of trained workers, a critical shortage of investments in key areas, and an often disorganized government. Nowhere are these shortcomings more apparent than in the nation’s space program and, in particular, its efforts to turn its sleepy Alcântara Launch Center into a world-class spaceport.

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