Alcântara Space Center

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Alcântara Space Center
Centro Espacial de Alcântara Logo.png
Clockwise from the top: VLS Pad, Control Center, Command Room, Tracking Antenna, Alcântara area from space
Maranhao Municip Alcantara.svg
Location of the Alcântara Space Center
AbbreviationCEA
Formation1982; 39 years ago (1982)
TypeSpaceport
Location
Coordinates02°20′22″S 44°25′03″W / 2.33944°S 44.41750°W / -2.33944; -44.41750Coordinates: 02°20′22″S 44°25′03″W / 2.33944°S 44.41750°W / -2.33944; -44.41750
Official language
Portuguese
English
OwnerAerospace Operations Command
Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Space Agency
Director
Col. Marcello Correa De Souza
Websitefab.mil.br/cla
Formerly called
Alcântara Launch Center
[1][2]

The Alcântara Space Center (Portuguese: Centro Espacial de Alcântara, CEA), former known as Alcântara Launch Center (Portuguese: Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara,[3] is a space center and launching facility of the Brazilian Space Agency in the city of Alcântara, located on Brazil's northern Atlantic coast, in the state of Maranhão.[4] It is operated by the Brazilian Air Force (Comando da Aeronáutica). The CEA is the closest launching base to the equator. This gives the launch site a significant advantage in launching geosynchronous satellites, an attribute shared by the Guiana Space Centre.

Construction of the base began in 1982. The first launch occurred on February 21, 1990, when the sounding rocket Sonda 2 XV-53 was launched.[5] On August 22, 2003, the explosion of the third VLS-1 (XV-03) killed 21 people.[6]

There are also plans to launch several international rockets from Alcântara. In 2003 contracts were signed to launch Ukrainian Tsyklon-4[7] (as of December 2009 planned to be launched by the end of 2010[4]) and Israeli Shavit[8] rockets; In addition there are further plans to launch the Russian Proton rocket.[9] In the beginning of 2018, Brazilian government offered the possibility to use the spaceport to several U.S. companies.[10] The company Virgin Orbit, was selected to fly their LauncherOne rocket from Alcântara in the first half of 2022.[11][12]

Public-private partnership[edit]

Companies based in Alcântara as of 2021, with the objective of orbital and sub-orbital launches, for commercial purposes or in partnership with the Brazilian government:[13][14]

As of August 2021, the Brazilian government established Ordinance No. 698, a regulation that follows the FAA 14 CFR part 450 standard, which deals with launch and re-entry licenses in order to follow the world standard in space activities.[15]

Agreement between Brazil and the U.S.[edit]

In 2019, Brazil and the U.S. signed an agreement, with the objective of preventing unauthorized access or transfer of U.S. technologies related to the launches from Alcântara.[16]

Structures[edit]

  • Engine preparation facilities (Preparação de Propulsores - PPP)
  • Payload preparation facilities (Preparação de Carga Útil - PPCU)
  • Liquid-fuel loading facilities (Preparação de Carregamento de Propelentes - PCPL)
  • Universal launch tower
  • Mobile Integration Tower (TMI - Torre Móvel de Integração): 33x10x13m, 380tons. Used for assembly of the VLS rockets.
  • Control center (Prédio de Controle Avançado - CASAMATA).
  • 2600m runway

List of launchpads[edit]

The Alcântara launch pads include:

Launch list[edit]

The list of flights conducted and planned from Alcântara:

Alcântara Space Center (from 2021)[edit]

Future launches[edit]

Date Vehicle Type Operator Mission Payload Orbit Results Ref
2021 VLM S-50 Two-stage orbital launcher AEB Qualification flight Low Earth Planned [17][18]
H1 2022 LauncherOne (Cosmic Girl) Two-stage orbital launcher Virgin Orbit LauncherOne flight TBA Low Earth Planned [19][20]
2022 VLM-1 Three-stage orbital launcher AEB Qualification flight Low Earth Planned [21][18]
2022 14-X (VSB-30) Hypersonic glide vehicle FAB Qualification flight Low Earth Planned [17][22][23]
202x VLM-1 Three-stage orbital launcher AEB SHEFEX TBA Low Earth Planned [21][18]

Alcântara Launch Center (1982-2021)[edit]

VLS1-V03 rocket on a launching pad
Date Vehicle Mission Results
21 February 1990 Sonda 2 XV-53 Alcântara Ionosphere 101 km
26 November 1990 Sonda 2 XV-54 Manival Ionosphere 91 km
9 December 1991 Sonda 2 XV-55 Aguas Belas Ionosphere 88 km
1 June 1992 Sonda 3 XV-24 Aeronomy 282 km
31 October 1992 Sonda 2 XV-56 Ponta de Areia Ionosphere 32 km
22 March 1993 Sonda 2 XV-57 Maruda Ionosphere 102 km
2 April 1993 VS-40 PT-01 VS-40 Test 950 km
19 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
20 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
24 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
25 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
9 September 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
21 September 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
23 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
23 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
24 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
24 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
6 October 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere Failure (250 km)
14 October 1994 Black Brant Guará H.Alt Spread F Ionosphere 956 km
15 October 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
28 April 1997 VS-30 XV-01 VS-30 Test 128 km
2 November 1997 VLS-1 V01 VLS-1 Destroyed during launch
21 March 1998 VS-40 VS-40 Test 900 km
15 March 1999 VS-30 XV-04 Operação San Marcos 128 km
11 December 1999 VLS-1 V02 SACI-2 Destroyed by range safety (10 km)
6 February 2000 VS-30 XV-05 Lençóis Maranhenses 148 km
21 August 2000 VS-30/Orion XV-01 Baronesa 315 km
23 November 2002 VS-30/Orion XV-02 Piraperna Ionosphere 434 km
1 December 2002 VS-30 XV-06 Cumã Failure (145 km)
22 August 2003 VLS-1 XV-03 SATEC Failure (2003 Alcântara VLS accident)
23 October 2004 VSB-30 XV-01 Cajuana Test 100 km
23 October 2004 VSB-30 V01 VSB-30 Flight Test 259 km
19 July 2007 VSB-30 V04 Cumã II 242 km
29 May 2009[24] Orion Maracati 1 93 km
10 August 2009 Basic Training Rocket FogTrein I [25]
12 December 2010[26] VSB-30 V07 Maracati 2 242 km (successful; payload recovered)
8 December 2012 VS-30/Orion V.10 Iguaiba 52 km [27]
9 August 2013 FTB Operação Falcão 32 km [28]
9 May 2014 FTB Operação Águia I [29]
21 August 2014 Intermediary Training Rocket Operação Águia II [30]
1 September 2014 VS-30 V.13 Operação Raposa L-5 liquid engine test [31]
12 September 2018 VS-30 V.14 Operação MUTITI 120 km[32]
22-23 May 2019 FTB Operação Águia I/2019 2 launchers [33]
25 June 2020 FTB Operação Falcão I/2020 30 km [34]
23 November 2021 FTI Operação Águia ~60 km [35]
Source: Astronautix (Until 2010)[36]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FAB CEA". Brazilian Air Force. Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  2. ^ "CEA Airport Info". Retrieved April 30, 2021.
  3. ^ "Empresas dos EUA e do Canadá vão atuar no Centro Espacial de Alcântara", EBC, April 28, 2021, retrieved April 30, 2021
  4. ^ a b Brazil, Ukraine to launch rocket together in 2010, UNIAN (December 3, 2009)
  5. ^ "SONDA II". AEB. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  6. ^ "Maior acidente do Programa Espacial Brasileiro completa 13 anos". G1. Retrieved November 20, 2019.
  7. ^ President of Ukraine signs Decree on measures to ensure realization of Ukrainian-Brazilian project of creating space rocket complex "Cyclone - 4"
  8. ^ "Launchers" by Tim Furniss, 26 August 2003, Flight International
  9. ^ Interfax: Russia & CIS Defense Industry Weekly, 21 May 2010
  10. ^ Reuters: U.S. space companies aim to help Brazil rocket base lift off
  11. ^ "Virgin Orbit Selected to Bring Orbital Launch Capabilities to Brazil". Virgin Orbit (Press release). April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  12. ^ "Business Interest Grows in Brazil's Alcântara Spaceport as Virgin Orbit Deal Announced". AEB (Press release). April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021 – via Parabolic Arc.
  13. ^ "AS PRIMEIRAS EMPRESAS A FIRMAREM CONTRATO COM A BASE DE ALCÂNTARA". Época. April 28, 2021.
  14. ^ "Governo seleciona quatro empresas para lançamento de satélites na base de Alcântara". Gazeta do Povo. April 28, 2021.
  15. ^ El gobierno regula los lanzamientos de sistemas espaciales privados en Brasil. Date: September, 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "Bolsonaro promulga acordo de salvaguardas tecnológicas com EUA na base de Alcântara". Valor. February 6, 2020.
  17. ^ a b "O CLA e Sua Agenda de Lançamentos Até 2022". Brazilian Space. June 21, 2019.
  18. ^ a b c "VLM 1 and S-50". Brazilian Air Force. April 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "Virgin Orbit Selected to Bring Orbital Launch Capabilities to Brazil". Virgin Orbit (Press release). April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021.
  20. ^ "Business Interest Grows in Brazil's Alcântara Spaceport as Virgin Orbit Deal Announced". AEB (Press release). April 28, 2021. Retrieved April 29, 2021 – via Parabolic Arc.
  21. ^ a b Krebs, Gunter (January 2, 2020). "VLM". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved October 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "Concluída mais uma etapa do projeto de desenvolvimento de um veículo hipersônico". Brazilian Air Force (in Portuguese). February 21, 2019.
  23. ^ "Brasil pondrá a prueba el 14-X en la Operación Cruzeiro". Infodefensa.com (in Spanish). March 3, 2020.
  24. ^ Xinhua: Brazil launches rocket to test launching base Xinhua. Retrieved on 2009-05-30.
  25. ^ "CLA dá início à Operação FogTrein I - Tribuna do Maranhão". Archived from the original on April 27, 2014. Retrieved April 26, 2014.
  26. ^ Brazil launches mid-sized rocket Archived December 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine FoxNews. Retrieved on 2010-12-15.
  27. ^ "BRAZILIAN SPACE|Operação Iguaíba". brazilianspace.blogspot.com. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  28. ^ "Operação Falcão II. Mais um foguete lançado em Alcântara". Poder Aéreo - Aviação Militar, Indústria Aeronáutica e de Defesa (in Portuguese). August 9, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  29. ^ MA, Do G1 (August 29, 2014). "Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara lançará foguete de sondagem VS-30". Maranhão (in Portuguese). Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  30. ^ MA, Do G1 (August 29, 2014). "Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara lançará foguete de sondagem VS-30". Maranhão (in Portuguese). Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  31. ^ "Operação Raposa é iniciada no CLA - CLA". www2.fab.mil.br. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  32. ^ Aeroflap (December 1, 2018). "CLA realiza o primeiro lançamento previsto para a Operação MUTITI". AEROFLAP (in Portuguese). Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  33. ^ "Operação Águia é realizada no CLA - CLA". www2.fab.mil.br. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  34. ^ "Foguete é lançado da Base de Alcântara como parte de treinamento operacional". Canaltech (in Portuguese). June 26, 2020. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  35. ^ "Operação Águia – CLA realiza lançamento de foguete de treinamento". Tecnologia & Defesa (in Portuguese). November 24, 2021. Retrieved November 24, 2021.
  36. ^ "Astronautix: Alcantara Chronology and Launch Log". Archived 2003-09-01 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]