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Brazil Modeled Updated Launch Licensing on FAA Regulations

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
September 12, 2021
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Alcantara launch complex (Credit: AEB)

BRASILIA, Brazil (Brazil Space Agency PR) — The Brazilian Space Agency (AEB/MCTI) published Ordinance No. 698, of August 31, 2021, which institutes the Regulations for the Licensing of Space Activities Operator and for Launch Authorization in the Brazilian territory. The rules referring to the authorization of launch operations were published in 2002, making it necessary to update their rules.

Launch Operator License is an administrative act under the competence of the AEB, granted to a single legal entity, associated or consortium, with headquarters or representation in Brazil, to allow the execution of launch space activities from the Brazilian territory. The license will have a term of 5 (five) years, and may be renewed for equal and successive periods.  Launch Authorization is the administrative act aimed at granting the release of space launch activities or set of space launches in Brazilian territory.

In recent years, the space sector has undergone major transformations, mainly due to the increase in private participation in the market. Several companies emerged in the space launch segment, as well as the emergence of several private launch centers.

In February 2020, the process of updating the regulations regarding the issuance of Operator License and Launch Authorization began. Updating these regulations is necessary for the start of commercial operation of launch activities from Brazilian launch centers, as it is essential to guarantee the safety and efficiency of their implementation. Since 2020, the AEB has published two Public Calls for this purpose:

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The requirements for the regulations are based on the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) standard, FAA 14 CFR part 450 (Rationalization of launch and re-entry licensing requirements), and related standards divided into five annexes adapted to Brazilian legislation. An attempt was made to standardize Brazilian regulations at international levels, along the same lines as those carried out in the aeronautical sector. 

The issuing of the operator’s license depends on the analysis of the documentation presented by the applicant company. The focus is to check the legality and technical capacity of the company. The documents required for issuing the operator license are those referring to: legal personality; technical qualification; fiscal and labor regularity; and proof of payment of fees for granting the license.

For the issuance of the Launch Authorization, an analysis of the mission proposed by the company will be carried out, in which items referring to safety, applicability and risk mitigation plans will be checked. The company interested in obtaining launch authorization must present detailed documentation of the operation of the proposed space launch, as per annexes A, B, C, D and E, in strict compliance with the safety standards established by the AEB and by the respective launch center.

For 2022, the start of commercial activities from the Brazilian launch centers is expected. The performance of commercial activities depends on the establishment of regulations that guarantee the safety and efficiency of the activities. 

About AEB 

The Brazilian Space Agency, the central body of the National System for the Development of Space Activities (SINDAE), is a public authority linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MCTI), responsible for formulating, coordinating and executing the Brazilian Space Policy.

Since its creation, on February 10, 1994, the Agency has worked to make feasible the efforts of the Brazilian State in promoting the well-being of society, through sovereign employment in the space sector. 

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