In a development that paves the way for U.S. companies to use Brazil’s Alcantara base in the Northeastern-state of Maranhao to launch satellites, the Brazilian Senate has approved the ratification of an agreement signed earlier this year to safeguard U.S. space and defense technology.
The agreement was earlier signed in March 2019 during an official visit by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to Washington.
Previously in 2003, such an agreement was scuttled when it faced resistance from the leftist government of then-President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The technology safeguard agreement (TSA) opens room for U.S. companies interested in launching small satellites at a lower cost from the Alcantara space center run by the Brazilian Air Force on the South American country’s north coast.
The TSA however will not provide Brazil, access to U.S. technologies in missiles, rockets, artifacts and satellites, as the Brazilian government once requested.
According to Air Force officers, since the Brazilian base’s location is close to the equator, launches will not only burn 30% less fuel but rockets can also carry larger payloads.
With the TSA, Brazil is likely to get a piece of the $300 billion-a-year space launch business.