Updates The Brazilian Space Program Thread


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Apr 5, 2015
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Brazil Bypassing the U.S. as It Builds out a Space Sector
April 16, 2015


The Brazilian government, which is determined to do in space what it did in civil aviation — move from a buyer of technology to a producer of commercial high-technology products — is multiplying bilateral agreements around the world with one major exception: the United States.

In interviews here during the Latin America Aero and Defense (LAAD) exhibition, Brazilian and non-Brazilian officials said the government here remains in full anti-ITAR mode, doing whatever it takes not to use technology to which the U.S. government might one day deny access.

Since a November change in the broad application of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), U.S. Commerce and State department officials have traveled the world saying, in effect, that ITAR is, for most commercial satellite components, a thing of the past for most U.S. allies.

Brazilian authorities remain to be convinced of that, to the point where prospective European and Asian space-hardware suppliers must undertake special efforts to reduce to a minimum their use of U.S. parts if they hope to make the sale in Brazil.

“We are offering a platform for them and it’s true it contains some U.S. parts that could be considered ITAR-controlled,” said one European industry official. “Our people tell us that a few components is OK, so long as the platform is not, in its entirety, considered an ITAR-controlled item. ITAR remains very much an issue here.”

As a result, a Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) world map of cooperation accords presented here resembled a forest of national flags with one blank spot in the northwest corner. That would be the United States.

“ITAR is a problem,” said Petronio Noronha de Souza, director of space policy and strategic investments at AEB. “The U.S. is the basic source of components for the [world’s space] industry, for chips and so forth. Europe is another source but the prices are much better in the U.S. But whenever we try to buy something there is always the challenge of the State Department. We hope this will be easier in the future.”

The space technology export-control modifications that entered into force in November moved many space components from being automatically classed as munitions at the State Department to a more export-friendly treatment at the Commerce Department.

The move to the Commerce Department had no effect on the ban on space commerce with China, which remains in effect. That is another source of stress with Brazil, whose main Earth observation satellite partner today is China with the China-Brazil Earth Resource Satellite (CBERS) series of medium-resolution Earth-observing spacecraft.

CBERS-4 is operational, and a CBERS-4a is being readied for final approval by the two governments. A launch is scheduled, aboard a Chinese Long March rocket, in 2018.

“China is a problem for the U.S. and we have a long-term cooperative program with China,” said Noronha de Souza. “Some time ago I had a meeting with representatives from a U.S. company and whenever I mentioned China, they showed visible discomfort. I told them: Your iPhones are Chinese, your computers too and lots more stuff you use. So let’s move forward.”

For the first time this year, China’s space industry, owned by the Chinese government, had a major presence at LAAD.

The delegation was selling more than Chinese satellites aboard Chinese rockets. The commercial push included proposals for Brazilian cooperation with China’s Beidou positioning, navigation and timing satellite system. Beidou provides only Asian regional coverage now, but it is scheduled to go global by 2020.

The Brazilian and Russian governments have signed a bilateral accord that placed on Brazilian territory a ground terminal to improve Russia’s Glonass positioning, navigation and timing constellation, which like the U.S. GPS network offers global coverage.

A similar ground installation proposed on U.S. soil was opposed by the U.S. Congress, some of whose members were concerned about ulterior uses of such a ground system beyond Glonass.

Brazil in 2013 concluded a broad space cooperation agreement with Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy that mandated an elaborate technology-transfer and technology-training network that goes far beyond most offset requirements.

Whether an identical accord could have been signed with a U.S. company, even in the current U.S. regulatory environment, is unclear. Industry officials have said China also has problems in transferring licenses and related space technologies and that this will be a showstopper in Brazil despite the fact that China, in many cases, is the lowest-cost bidder for a given satellite project.

“These guys don’t just want to buy stuff,” said the European satellite supplier. “The model for space is the Embraer model. Look at Embraer’s place in the jet market today versus 20 years ago. That’s where they want to be in space in 20 years.”


Russia offers to help Brazil develop Alcantara Launch Center
April 24

Russia has offered to take Ukraine’s place in cooperation on Alcantara Launch Center, which has been practically severed through Kiev’s fault, Russian Vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said.

"Brazil is trying to develop its own space port. Unfortunately, due to the fact that Ukraine has practically lost its engineering potential, the Brazilian-Ukrainian project on the use of the Tsyklon rockets on the cosmodrome on Brazil’s northern Atlantic coast has been practically curtailed," Rogozin told reporters.

"But Russia has offered its own options," he added.

"Rogozin recalled that Russia had already deployed several GLONASS stations to Brazil. "And we have ideas how to help Brazil in terms of developing space ports," the vice-premier noted.


Brazil and Russia to deepen cooperation in science and technology

Google translation

July 9, 2015

"We have important priorities in our bilateral relationship, the joint Aster mission; commercial and satellite launch on partnership area cooperation, "he emphasized. The first Brazilian Mission to Deep Space (Aster) is a multi-institutional project of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). Its main objective is to build a space probe small to explore the triple asteroid 2001SN263, discovered in 2008 in the region between Mars and Jupiter.

They were treated points as the Brazilian participation in calibration stations Russian positioning and navigation system, Glonass; the partnership for the installation of a station for monitoring space debris in Minas Gerais; and cooperation among technology parks on both sides. These issues have been previously addressed in the holder of the MCTI trip to Moscow last month. The meeting yesterday also discussed the possibility of working together in the atomic energy sector and the development of satellites and launch vehicles.

In Brazil, there are already two Glonass stations installed at the University of Brasilia (UNB). Two more will be installed in Recife and Santa Maria (RS). At the meeting with the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) in June, it discussed the possibility of also equip the North and East with two units.


Brazilian Aster Deep Space Mission

5-9 May 2014

One of the most interesting asteroids to be visited is the so called 2001SN263. It is a triple system and its components have diameters around 2.8 km, 1.2 km and 0.5 km. A mission to this asteroid is under study by several institutions in Brazil nowadays. There are many aspects to be considered in a mission of this type. Since the idea is to study the three bodies that belong to this system, close approaches will occur between the spacecraft and the two smaller bodies during the observation of those bodies, what makes the study of the effects of those close approaches a very important topic, because those modifications may generate situations where the spacecraft escapes from the system. On the other side, those modifications of the orbit can be used to help the required maneuvers that need to be made in the spacecraft in order to make a more complete observation of the system. This type of study is the main goal of the present paper. After that, a second study is made, considering the use of tethers in order to combine the collection of samples from the components of the asteroid with a change in the energy of the spacecraft due to the "Tethered Assisted Swing-By Maneuver". In this type of maneuver the rotation of the spacecraft generated by the tether can give variations of energy around four orders of magnitude larger than the ones that comes from the close approach. After studying this maneuver for the 2001SN263 system a short exploration of the Jupiter-Adrastea system is made, since it offers very high energy variations, enough to capture a spacecraft coming from the Earth, in particular a nano-satellite, around Jupiter.


Once considered just an average single asteroid, 2001 SN263 has now been revealed as the first near-Earth triple asteroid ever found.


Russia, Brazil to Track Space Junk With GLONASS Navigation System


Russia and Brazil are considering a joint project that will detect and track space junk orbiting the Earth, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday at a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart at the sidelines of the BRICS summit.

He thanked Dilma Rousseff for agreeing to host two ground stations servicing Russia’s GLONASS navigation service, a GPS-like navigation system of almost 30 satellites.



April 16, 2015

CBERS-4a is being readied for final approval by the two Chinese and Brazilian governments. A launch is scheduled, aboard a Chinese Long March rocket, in 2018.


China and Brazil signing agreement on the joint development of CBERS04A part of the ressource satellite series of medium-resolution Earth-observing spacecraft.


First test launch of VLS-1 delayed to 2nd half of 2016

Google translate


Brasilia, May 27, 2015 - One of the most emblematic scientific and technological development programs in Brazil, the construction of the Satellite Launch Vehicle (VLS), is about to collapse.

In open court yesterday (26) in the House of Representatives, the deputy director of the Department of Science and Technology Aeronautics (DCTA), Wander Golfetto, said the program may not be completed for lack of funds, qualified human resources and technological difficulties .

Figures presented by DCTA point a discontinuity of resources for the VLS provided for in the National Space Activities Program (PNAE), guiding document area of ​​investments. In total, the program should receive around R $ 155 million. However, until now, they were executed R $ 108 million.

The initial forecast was that the vehicle would be fully completed this year. Now, however, the expectation changed. Today, planning is to test of the rocket in late 2016.

"We have all been redesigned vehicle. We are working on a launch of a technological flight, aimed at testing the lower part of the VLS, where we had some difficulties in the firing of the second stage and the separation of stages. The analysis also serve to evaluate the inertial navigation system that was developed within the DCTA. It is based on optical fiber. It has been tested on aircraft, on the ground, now we need to make a space flight to make sure this vehicle, "explained Golfetto.

The next step, which would serve to make the VLS put a satellite in orbit is prevented. Besides the lack of resources, there are technical difficulties in developing components to complete the rocket. There is also a serious problem of labor shortage that can even disrupt other mobilizing projects.

"If there is replacement of the frame, in 2020, DCTA will be reduced by 44% of its staff compared to 2011, due to the retirement process. Not long ago, we were authorized contest and we employ more than 200 professionals. However, this is lower than necessary, "warned the deputy director.

Change - The difficulties to continue the VLS program made the plans to change authorities in relation to the efforts for a national launcher. Instead of targeting in the satellite market in geostationary orbit, the order is now attacking the microsatellite market that bill too high.

"We came to the conclusion that it is not worth the country develop a vehicle for geostationary satellites. There are several competitors in the market and Brazil did not release many devices of this size. Our focus is more focused on the VLM [Launch Vehicle Microsatellite]. It's a simple rocket, to carry smaller satellites. We believe that it comes in a niche market where there are no launchers that category, "said Golfetto.

As regards the difficulty of development, there are fewer problems because the construction of the VLS process takes place in cooperation with the German Aerospace Center (DLR). But again the discontinuity of resources can hinder this project that was originally planned for completion this year, and was rescheduled for 2017. Estimated at US $ 126.9 million to date the program received R $ 10 million.

History - The dream of having a rocket capable of carrying satellites is already old. Since the beginning of the Brazilian Space Program (PEB), the idea was to enter the club of countries possessing the ability to conduct space transportation. The horizons began to lighten when in the late 1970 instituted the Brazilian Complete Space Mission (MECB), which had as its goal to launch a national satellite through a national launcher from a base in our territory.

Since then, the country has managed to deploy two launch centers, the Alcântara (CLA), in Maranhão, and the Barreira do Inferno (CLBI) in Rio Grande do Norte. He has also been able to develop data-gathering satellites (SCDs) and remote sensing, the CBERS, these in cooperation with China.

In rockets area, however, we do not take off beyond the suborbital area. In this segment, it is true, there are successes with the advent of probe family, and VSB-30 survey vehicles, VS-30 and VS-40, capable of launching cargo-working composed of scientific and technological experiments. The VSB-30, for example, supplies the European program of microgravity.

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