The president of Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) said on Sunday that Brazil plans a launch a domestically-produced orbital rocket within two years, according to a news release on the agency’s website.
“We are working on the development of a more powerful engine, which is the S50, a project carried out in partnership with the national industry in São José dos Campos (SP). It incorporates a number of technological advances. We intend to start testing the engine in 2021 and make it fly by 2022,” Carlos Moura said.
Moura said launching a satellite into orbit on a Brazilian rocket from Brazilian soil is the space agency’s biggest challenge.
Brazil has been working with the German Aerospace Center (DLR) develop the Veículo Lançador de Microssatélites 1 (VLM-1) booster and the S-50 engine that will power the rocket’s first two stages.
The three-stage VLM-1 will be capable of launching 150 kg (330.7 lb) into a 300-km (186.4-mile) orbit. Flights will be conducted from the Alcantara Launch Center, which is located on Brazil’s northern Atlantic coast.
VLM’1’s first two stages will each be powered by a single S-50 motor. The third stage will be powered by a single S-44 solid-fuel motor that is used in the VS-40 sounding rocket. Details of the booster follow.
Height: 19.6 m (64 ft)
Diameter: 1.45 m (4 ft 9 in)
Mass: 28,000 kg (62,000 lb)
Stages 1 & 2
Number: 1 per stage
Thrust: ~400 kN (90,000 lbf)
Specific impulse: ~277 s (2.72 km/s)
Burn time: ~60 seconds
Thrust: 33.24 kN (7,470 lbf)
Specific impulse: 282 s (2.77 km/s)
Burn time: 68 seconds
Brazil is planning a precursor flight involving a single stage rocket known as VS-50. The booster will be powered by a single S-50 solid rocket motor.
The VLM-1 project has been in the works for many years. There have been a number of delay. It’s difficult to know how solid the projected 2022 launch date is at the moment.