The Brazilian government has been trying to entice foreign launch providers to use the equatorial Alcantara Launch Center. Reuters reports:
Brazil’s defense minister said on Thursday that Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and other U.S. aerospace companies have expressed interest in launching rockets from its Alcantara military base near the equator and visited the site in December.
“They were very impressed,” Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told reporters. “They showed interest, but I can’t say whether it will materialize.”
Besides SpaceX, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, the Alcantara visit included smaller aerospace U.S. companies Vector Space Systems, which launches small satellites, and Microcosm, which focuses on providing low-cost access to space, an organizer of the trip said.
Rubens Barbosa, a former Brazilian ambassador to the United States who organized the visit to the base, said the U.S. companies were eager to use the Alcantara site.
Reuters reports that SpaceX denied interest in launching from the facility, whose location at about 2 degrees from the equator makes it ideal for launching communications satellites to geosynchronous orbit.
Alcantara is used for sounding rocket launches; it has never hosted an orbital launch. Brazil’s effort to develop a domestic launcher has not been successful. In August 2003, the program suffered a major setback when the explosion of a VLS-1 booster killed 21 people at Alcantara.
A joint Brazilian-Ukrainian effort to launch Cylcone-4 boosters from Alcantara collapsed in 2015 after a dozen years of effort. The project left behind partially completed launch infrastructure.
Russia’s efforts to find a new home for its failure-prone Sea Launch company has taken officials to rising South American power — and charter BRICS member — Brazil.
That’s theword from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin anyway.
“A quite remarkable dialogue at the level of experts is currently in progress; possibly, the idea may take shape within the BRICS group, or in our bilateral relations with Brazil, of carrying out such joint launches and furnishing assistance to Brazil in developing its space industry and making its own spacecraft,” he said, adding that Brazil already had its own space site close to the ocean that would fit in well with such tasks. (more…)
Brazil has come out with a new strategic plan to guide its space efforts through 2021 that involves a significant change in its effort to develop a domestic satellite launch industry.
Brazil has scaled back an ambitious Southern Cross development program to focus on a series of smaller launch vehicles that appear to rely more on home-grown technology. The country also has forged a cooperative arrangement with Germany to develop a dedicated micro-satellite launch vehicle. Meanwhile, Brazil is continuing work on launching Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from the Alcantara Launch Center in 2014. (more…)
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.
ALCÂNTARA (March 6, 2012 — State of Maranhão PR) — The 29 years of foundation of the Alcantara Launch Center, in Maranhão, yesterday, were marked by priorities to be implemented this year: the completion of the process of technological modernization, eight campaigns rocket launches entry-level intermediary, the operation of the Tower Mobile Integration (TMI) and the first ground test of the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV).
The anniversary ceremony was attended by the deputy governor of Maranhão, Washington Oliveira, Senator Edison Lobão Filho and the President of the Legislative Assembly of Maranhao, Arnaldo Melo, who have been awarded the title of Friend of the Alcantara Launch Center, a recognition of the personalities that CLA, in the context of their professional duties, have contributed to the success of the Brazilian Space Program.
IAE PR — The Aeronautics and Space Institute (IAE) has successfully, the test of separation of the four engines of the first stage of the Satellite Launching Vehicle (VLS). The event was successful and simulated a situation that will occur about 32 km altitude when the vehicle is in flight. The test was carried out yesterday (29/09) in the laboratory of Integration of the IAE propellants and had a team of 45 technicians and engineers between servers. The main objective was the qualification system of separation of the first stage of the VLS.
In total, 167 measurements were made from mechanical shock, vibration, quasi-static deformation, pressure, displacement, separation symmetry, as well as photo coverage, video (HD and high speed). The data collected will be analyzed and used as a basis for understanding the phenomena occurring in the vehicle during this important phase of flight. Among these phenomena are the simultaneous ejection of the engines, the tensions at the interfaces between the second and third stage and mechanical shock loads in the central body and embedded devices. Will also made a comparison between the signals acquired with the telemetry system and ground systems, an important procedure for the qualification of the measurement system in flight.
The VLS is capable of putting into orbit a satellite of 115 kg at 750 km altitude. The vehicle is separated into subdivisions, which include four stages, and ejection Hood, Power Lines and Networks Pyrotechnics.
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.
The rising global power of Brazil has ambitious plans to become self-sufficient in launcher and space technology, although its efforts are threatened by a shortage of funding and trained personnel. In order to reach its goals, the nation has forged partnerships with Russia, Ukraine, China and other nations.
The core of Brazil’s move toward launcher independence lies with two rockets: Cyclone-4 and the Satellite Launch Vehicle (VLS-1). The Cyclone-4 is an updated version of the Soviet-era Cyclone-3 booster that is being developed by Ukraine. It has been improved upon from its predecessor by adding a more powerful third stage with a new rocket engine, a fairing derived from the Ariane 4, and an improved control system.