Brazilian Space Agency
The Brazilian Space Agency (Portuguese: Agência Espacial Brasileira; AEB) is the civilian authority in Brazil responsible for the country's burgeoning space program. It operates a spaceport at Alcântara and a rocket launch site at Barreira do Inferno. The agency has given Brazil a leading role in space in Latin America and has made Brazil a valuable and dependable partner for cooperation in the International Space Station.
The Brazilian Space Agency is the heir to Brazil's space program. Previously, the program had been under the control of the Brazilian military; the program was transferred into civilian control on 10 February 1994.
It suffered a major setback in 2003, when a rocket explosion killed 21 technicians. Brazil successfully launched its first rocket into space on 23 October 2004 from the Alcântara Launch Center; it was a VSB-30 launched on a sub-orbital mission. Several other successful launches have followed.
On March 30, 2006, AEB astronaut Marcos Pontes became the first Brazilian and the first native Portuguese-speaking person to go into space, where he stayed on the International Space Station for a week. During his trip, Pontes carried out eight experiments selected by the Brazilian Space Agency. He landed in Kazakhstan on April 8, 2006, with the crew of Expedition 12.
The Brazilian Space Agency has pursued a policy of joint technological development with more advanced space programs. Initially it relied heavily on the United States, but after meeting difficulties from them on technological transfers, Brazil has branched out, working with other nations, including China, India, Russia and Ukraine.
Launch sites 
Alcântara Launch Center 
The Alcântara Launch Center (Portuguese: Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara; CLA) is the main launch site and operational center of the Brazilian Space Agency. It is located in the peninsula of Alcântara, in the state of Maranhão. This region presents some excellent requirements, such as low population density, excellent security conditions and easiness of aerial and maritime access. The most important factor is its closeness to the Equator - Alcântara is the closest launching base to the Equator. This gives the launch site a significant advantage in launching geosynchronous satellites.
Barreira do Inferno Launch Center 
The Barreira do Inferno Launch Center (Portuguese: Centro de Lançamento da Barreira do Inferno; CLBI) is a rocket launch base of the Brazilian Space Agency. It is located in the city of Parnamirim, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. It is primarily used to launch sounding rockets and to support the Alcântara Launch Center.
Launch vehicles 
The VLS - Satellite Launch Vehicle (Portuguese: Veículo Lançador de Satélites) is the Brazilian Space Agency's main satellite launch vehicle. It is a four-stage rocket composed of a core and four strap-on motors. The vehicle's first stage has four solid fuel motors derived from the Sonda sounding rockets. It is intended to deploy 100 to 380 kg satellites into 200 to 1200 km orbit, or to deploy 75 to 275 kg payloads into 200 to 1000 km polar orbit. The first 3 prototypes for the vehicle failed to launch, with the 3rd exploding on the launch pad in 2003 resulting in the deaths of 21 AEB personnel.
VLM, VLS-Alfa and VLS-Beta 
The VLM "Veiculo Lançador de Microsatelites" (Microsatelite Launch Vehicle) is also being developed based on the VLS rocket engines. Other projects derived from the VLS-1 launcher are the VLS-Alfa and VLS-Beta, under design with Russian assistance.
Southern Cross program 
The Brazilian Space Agency is currently developing a new family of launch vehicles in cooperation with the Russian Federal Space Agency. The five rockets of the Southern Cross family will be based on Russia's Angara vehicle and liquid-propellant engines.
- Alpha (light-weight rocket)
- Beta (light-weight rocket)
- Gamma (light-weight rocket)
- Delta (medium-weight rocket)
- Epsilon (heavy-weight rocket)
The first stage of the Gamma, Delta and Epsilon rockets will be powered by a unit based on the RD-191 engine. The second stage, which will be the same for all the Southern Cross rockets, will be driven by an engine based on the Molniya rocket. The third stage will be a solid-propellant booster based on an upgraded version of the VLS-1.
The Brazilian government is planning to allocate $1 billion dollars for the project in the next six years. It has already set aside $650 million dollars for the construction of five launch pads able to handle up to 12 launches per year. The program is scheduled to be completed by 2022.
Sounding rockets 
The Brazilian Space Agency has operated a series of sounding rockets.
- Sonda I
- Sonda II
- Sonda III
- Sonda IV
- VS-50 (projected, will use the new S-50 rocket engine)
- VS-15 (projected, will use the new L15 liquid rocket engine)
A number of different engines were developed for usage on the several launch vehicles:
- S-10-1 solid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 1. Thrust: 27 kN.
- S-10-2 solid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 1. Thrust: 4.20 kN, burn time: 32 s.
- S-20 Avibras solid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 2 and Sonda 3. Thrust:36 kN
- S-23 Avibrassolid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 3M1. Thrust:18 kN
- S-30 IAE solid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 3, Sonda 3M1, Sonda 4, VS-30, VS-30/Orion and VSB-30. Thrust: 20.490 kN
- S-31 IAE solid rocket engine. Used on VSB-30. Thrust: 240 kN
- S-40TM IAE solid rocket engine. Used on VLS-R1, VS-40, VLS-1 and VLM-1. Thrust: 208.4 kN, isp=272s.
- S-43 IAE solid rocket engine. Used on Sonda 4, VLS-R1 and VLS-1. Thrust: 303 kN, isp=265s
- S-43TM IAE solid rocket engine. Used on VLS-R1, VLS-1 and VLM. Thrust: 321.7 kN, isp=276s
- S-44 IAE solid rocket engine. Used on VLS-R1, VS-40, VLS-1 and VLM-1. Thrust:33.24 kN, isp=282s
- L5 liquid fuel rocket engine. Used on VLS-Alfa.
- L15 liquid fuel rocket engine. Used on VS-15. Thrust: 15 kN
- L75 liquid fuel rocket engine, similar to the Russian RD-0109. Used on VLS-Alfa, VLS-Beta, VLS-Omega, VLS-Gama and VLS-Epsilon. Thrust: 75 kN
- S-50 IAE solid rocket engine. Used on VLM-1 and VS-50.
- L1500 liquid fuel rocket engine. Used on VLS-Beta, VLS-Omega, VLS-Gama and VLS-Epsilon. Thrust: 1500 kN
|CBERS-1||Brazil / China||Earth observation||1999–2003||Retired|
|CBERS-2||Brazil / China||Earth observation||2003-||Active|
|CBERS-2B||Brazil / China||Reconnaissance||2007-||Active|
|CBERS-3||Brazil / China||Earth observation||2012||In development|
|Amazônia-1||Brazil||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multimission Platform)||2013||In development|
|CBERS-4||Brazil / China||Earth observation||2014||In development|
|COM-1||Brazil||Communications satellite||2014||In development|
|Amazônia-1B||Brazil||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multi-mission Platform)||2015||In development|
|FLORA (HIPERSPECTRAL)||Brazil/ United States||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multi-mission Platform)||2016||In development|
|LATTES-1||Brazil/ China/ United States/ Japan||Space weather (EQUARS) and X-ray space telescope (MIRAX) mission||2016||In development|
|CBERS-4B||Brazil/ China||Earth observation||2016||In development|
|LAT-1 SABIA-Mar - 1||Brazil/ Argentina||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multi-mission Platform)||2017||In development|
|CLE-1||Brazil||Low earth orbit||2018||In development|
|Amazônia-2||Brazil||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multi-mission Platform)||2018||In development|
|SAR-1||Brazil||Earth observation||2018||In development|
|MET-1||Brazil||Earth observation||2018||In development|
|AST-1||Brazil||Low earth orbit||2019||In development|
|SABIA-Mar - 1B||Brazil/ Argentina||PMM - "Plataforma Multimissão" (Multi-mission Platform)||2019||In development|
|COM-2||Brazil||Communications satellite||2019||In development|
|AST-2||Brazil||Low earth orbit||2020||In development|
Human spaceflight 
Marcos Pontes, a lieutenant colonel in the Brazilian Air Force, is an astronaut of the Brazilian Space Agency. Pontes was the first Brazilian astronaut, having launched with the Expedition 13 crew from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 29, 2006 aboard a Soyuz-TMA spacecraft. Pontes docked with the International Space Station (ISS) on March 31, 2006, where he lived and worked for 9 days. Pontes returned to Earth with the Expedition 12 crew, landing in Kazakhstan on April 8, 2006. Currently, Pontes continues with his technical duties for the International Space Station program in the development and fabrication of the Brazilian parts for the ISS. He is on stand-by for training for future Brazilian space flights.
|Name||Position||Time in space||Launch date||Mission||Mission insignia||Status|
|Marcos Pontes||Mission Specialist||9d 21h 17m||March 30, 2006||Soyuz TMA-8
||Active, on stand-by|
International cooperation 
International Space Station 
The Brazilian Space Agency is a bilateral partner of NASA in the International Space Station. The agreement for the design, development, operation and use of Brazilian developed flight equipment and payloads for the Space Station was signed in 1997. It includes the development of six items, among which are a Window Observational Research Facility and a Technology Experiment Facility. In return, NASA will provide Brazil with access to its ISS facilities on-orbit, as well as a flight opportunity for one Brazilian astronaut during the course of the ISS program.
On October 21, 2003, the Brazilian Space Agency and the State Space Agency of Ukraine established a cooperation agreement creating a joint venture space enterprise called Alcântara Cyclone Space. The new company will focus on launching satellites from the Alcântara Launch Center using the Tsyklon-4 rocket. The company will invest $160 million dollars in infrastructure for the new launch pad that will be constructed at the Alcântara Launch Center.
See also 
- National Institute for Space Research (INPE)
- Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA)
- Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA)
- Presidency of Brazil: Law 8.854 "That creates the Brazilian Space Agency, and other measures" Presidency of Brazil. Retrieved on 2009-07-30. (Portuguese)
- Ministry of Planning and Budget. 2011 Federal Budget: Brazilian Space Agency (Agência Espacial Brasileira). (p. 116). Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
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- Barreira do Inferno Launch Center GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved on 2009-07-30.
- Centro de Lançamento da Barreira do Inferno Brazilian Space Agency. Retrieved on 2009-07-30. (Portuguese)
- Veículos Lançadores: VLS Brazilian Space Agency. Retrieved on 2009-07-29. (Portuguese)
- VLS (Brazilian rocket) The Internet Encyclopedia of Science. Retrieved on 2009-07-29.
- Saiba como está o projeto Veículo Lançador de Satélite (VLS) Brazilian Air Force. Retrieved on 2012-03-06. (Portuguese).
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- Programa de Veículos Lançadoeres de Satélites Cruzeiro do Sul Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology. Retrieved on 2009-07-29. (Portuguese)
- Satélite de Coleta de Dados - SCD GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- The Lauch of CBERS-2B National Institute for Space Research. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- Overview of the CBERS-2 United States Geological Survey. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- AEB: Human Spaceflight GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- Astronaut Bio: Marcos C. Pontes. NASA. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- NASA Signs International Space Station Agreement With Brazil NASA. Retrieved on 2011-01-17.
- Ucrânia Defesa BR. Retrieved on 2009-07-29. (Portuguese)
- Brazil-Ukraine joint venture space company eyes global satellite launch market; to start operations this year GIS News. Retrieved on 2009-07-29.
- Autoriza o aumento de capital social da Empresa Binacional Alcântara Cyclone Space Presidency of Brazil. Retrieved on 2009-07-29. (Portuguese)