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Military Capabilities

Update: Brazil, US sign space technology safeguard agreement

19 March 2019
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Key Points

  • Brazil and the US signed an agreement that brings US space companies one step nearer to launching from Brazil
  • The companies are enticed by the fuel-efficiency savings from launching so close to the equator

Brazil and the US on 18 March signed a space technology safeguard agreement (TSA), an important step toward allowing US companies to launch out of the Brazilian Air Force's (Força Aérea Brasileira: FAB) Alcantara Launch Center (ALC) in the country's northeast.Brazil and the US are making progress towards allowing US companies to fly from Brazil's ALC in the country's northeast. (Microcosm Inc)Brazil and the US are making progress towards allowing US companies to fly from Brazil's ALC in the country's northeast. (Microcosm Inc)

Upon entry into force, the TSA will establish the technical safeguards to support US space launches from Brazil, the US State Department said in a 19 March statement. It will also ensure the proper handling of sensitive US technology consistent with US nonproliferation policy, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and US export control laws and regulations.

The remaining hurdle is approval by Brazil's congress, David Logsdon, head of the Computing Technology Industry Association's (CompTIA's) Space Enterprise Council, told Jane's after the event. Coincidently, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is in Washington to meet with US President Donald Trump.

A TSA prevents unauthorised access to and transfer of protected technologies. US companies are interested in flying out of ALC due to its location for equatorial launches. Equatorial launches are advantageous as the Earth spins the fastest at the equator, giving launches an extra boost to reach orbit.

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