The unprecedented achievement is part of Operation Santa Branca and took place this Sunday (10/23), in Maranhão
Air Force Agency, by Lieutenant Eniele Santos and Major Oliveira Lima
October 23rd! Aviator’s Day and Brazilian Air Force Day (FAB). This year, the date became even more significant! The Alcântara Launch Center (CLA) performed the launching of the VSB-30 suborbital vehicle, from the Suborbital Microgravity Platform (PSM), which was developed by the Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE). The project is part of Operation Santa Branca.
With Brazilian production and 100% national payload, the VSB-30 is a rocket of the probe family, with solid propulsion stages, rotationally stabilized and capable of carrying loads of up to 400 kg, at altitudes of 270 km. In this launch, the rocket carried on board the scientific experiment “Multiuser Furnace”, developed by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The event was attended by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Paulo Alvim, who was accompanied by his entourage of directors, secretaries and heads of offices of the ministry. In addition, the President of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), Colonel Engineer Carlos Augusto Teixeira de Moura, witnessed the launch.
“First of all, we have to celebrate the success of Operation Santa Branca. We are proud to see the competence of the Brazilian professionals, who did not give up the dream of carrying out launches here at CLA. VSB-30 is a Brazilian rocket and this will be the beginning of a cycle of many achievements that will surely come,” said Minister Paulo Alvim.
The rocket launch took place at 2:20 pm and reached its apogee at 4 minutes and 1 second, already at an altitude of 227 km, for a total flight time of 7 minutes and 44 seconds. The payload fell 185 kilometers off the coast and specialized military personnel aboard FAB helicopters carried out the rescue.
“The Santa Branca Operation was a success. There was a great deal of preparation with the teams from the Institute of Aeronautics and Space and the ORBITAL Company, which carried out the PSM, an experiment that we are in the process of homologating. There were months of preparation for this moment and, for us at CLA, it is a feeling of accomplishment. Now we have all the necessary data to present to the launching companies”, reported CLA’s Director, Engineer Colonel Fernando Benitez Leal.
In order to guarantee the complete success of Operation Santa Branca, several security measures were taken. For the population living in the CLA region, FAB issued notices alerting the entire population. In addition, fishermen and river dwellers were instructed about fishing in the area. The same care was taken with the airspace, which was blocked to flights in the region.
According to Engineer Lieutenant-Colonel Rogério Moreira Cazo, safety is the fundamental item for the operation’s success. In the organic matter, the Security and Defense Group (GSD) did all the escorting of the rocket until it reached the vehicle integration area. “We did all the area surveillance, with access and image control. We did a perimeter work with the placement of barriers that could guarantee the total safety of all the people,” explained the officer.
With regards to the safety of the launch, care was taken, mainly due to the fact that approximately 95% of the cargo is composed of fuel. Lieutenant Colonel Moreira reported that the Brazilian Space Program’s rocket works with solid fuel, so in order to avoid incidents, electrostatic discharge tests were performed and the launch area was completely isolated. “We monitored all possible issues that could occur and eliminated all of them. Besides this, we took precautions so that any situation could be solved and resolved. With all these precautions, we achieved our goal and the mission was a success,” he concluded.
Santa Branca Operation
Operation Santa Branca consists of the launch of the VSB-30 rocket, which had a payload module with Microgravity Suborbital Platform Qualification Model (MQ-PSM). With such qualification, the PSM will be used for performing experiments in microgravity environment.
With the success of the Operation, Brazil will be able to explore this type of launching for those interested in scientific research and technology development.
Photos: Sergeant Figueira/ Cecomsaer – Video: Sergeant Ronan/ Cecomsaer. *** Translated by the DEFCONPress FYI Team ***