Brazil to rebuild space center based on the model of Chinese space facility in Taiyuan

5 October 2007

Beijing, China, 5 Oct – The Brazilian minister for Science and Technology, Sérgio Rezende, said in Beijing that before the end of the year work would start on rebuilding Brazil’s space center in the northern Brazilian state of Maranhão, which may follow the model used at China’s space facility.

“We expect to rebuild the launch tower and make the space center like the one in Taiyuan,” said Resende last week in the Chinese capital.

Rebuilding the Brazilian space center, which was destroyed in an accident, is expected to cost between US$150 million and US$300 million.

In September China and Brazil launched their third jointly built satellite, the CBERS-2B, which was transported by the Long March 4B Chinese rocket from the launch pad at Taiyuan, the capital of the Chinese province of Shanxi, some 750 kilometers from Beijing.

The CBERS-2B satellite is the third in a series of the remote sensing project as part of the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS) Program.

The Chinese complex has control centers using high-end technology, as well as accommodation and other services that allow technicians to live in almost the same comfort as in their home towns.

“Alcantara (the Brazilian facility) has none of that, which is needed to have a complete space program,” Rezende said.

As there are many Brazilian technicians from the National Space Research Institute (INPE) at the Chinese base, Brazil would already have a certain amount of accumulated knowledge to build a complex based on the Chinese model.

“Our proposal is for Brazil and China to do the set up (of a remote sensory station in an African country) and to teach African technicians to take images,” Rezende said.

In an initial stage China and Brazil will present the services of the space program for free, due to the partnerships that the Brazilians and Chinese have in many African countries.

The CBERS-2B satellite, which has an estimated lifetime of 2 years, replaced CBERS-2, which would not survive until the launch of the next model, the CBERS-3, expected for 2009.

The Chinese-Brazilian partnership, which was established in 1988, also plans to launch the CBERS-4 in 2012. (macauhub)