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Brazil and Russia to Cooperate on Space Launch Vehicles

Brazil and Russia will sign a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on space launch matters when Putin visits Brazil in November, according to Space Daily. According to the article, the MOU calls for the joint development and production of launch vehicles, the launch of geostationary satellites and the joint development and utilization of Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center.

According to the article, “Russia’s direct involvement in Brazil’s space program accelerated following the explosion of Brazil’s VLS rocket at Alcantara in August 2003. At that time, Russian space officials were invited to participate in the investigation to determine the cause of the explosion, which killed 21.” Last September, Brazil awarded a contract to a Russian firm for technical assistance in rebuilding the launch tower destroyed in the VLS explosion, according the Brazilian newspaper, Gazeta Mercantil. The newspaper reported the new VLS launch tower is being built for to include the use of liquid-fuel rocket propellants, a technology, which Brazil does not yet possess, but which is being studied with the Russians to be incorporated into one of the future versions of the Brazilian VLS rocket.

Brazil’s determination to proceed with its indigenous space launch vehicle is another example of its desire to be a first-rate world power, along with the US, India, China, Russia, etc. If space and nuclear technology are considered indicators of such first-rate power, then Brazil wants it regardless of the implications for the NPT and the MTCR. That does not necessarily mean that Brazil wants ICBMs with nuclear warheads; Brazil is a peaceful country. To the extent that the US uses its nuclear ICBMs to intimidate other countries around the world, however, Brazil could at some point follow in its footsteps by developing them. If the US turns its back on disarmament, then it may at some time have to invade Brazil, as it did Iraq, to eliminate the space and nuclear programs by force, if it is unwilling to accept them, as it has accepted them in India.

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