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Brazilian companies Akaer and CENIC to develop satellite launch vehicles

An artist's rendition of Akaer's proposed Montenegro MKI satellite launch vehicle. (Akaer)

The Brazilian companies Akaer and CENIC have signed separate contracts with the country's innovation agency, Finep (Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos), to build small launch vehicles capable of placing multiple nano- and micro-satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO).

Finep, which is part of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, has awarded a total of BRL370.46 million (USD75.4 million) for the project – BRL185.34 million (USD37.72 million) went to the consortium led by Akaer, and BRL192 million (USD39.08 million) was awarded to the consortium led by CENIC. The funding originates from the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development, with the remaining BRL7 million granted by the Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, e Inovação.

The two contracts, signed on 13 December, call for each consortium to design, develop, qualify, and launch prototypes of launch vehicles capable of lifting a minimum payload of 5 kg from the Brazilian territory. The prototypes are scheduled to be unveiled in 2026.

Akaer's consortium consisted of Acrux Aerospace Technologies, BRENG Engenharia e Tecnologia LTDA, and EMSISTI, and CENIC partnered with Concert Technologies, Schelim Engenharia Eireli, Plasmahub Ambiental, and ETSYS Indústria e Tecnologia em Sistemas.

Technical specifications for the launch vehicles were defined by the Brazilian Space Agency.

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