Business

Brazil hopes to finally make money from “world’s best” satellite launch center

Located just south of the equator, expeditions from the Alcântara Launch Center are cheaper, more efficient, and more predictable. But Brazil has consistently failed to profit from the base

Brazil hopes to finally make money from "world's best" satellite launch center Alcântara
The government presents

The Alcântara Launch Center, in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhão, is one of the world’s best facilities for launching satellites. Located just two degrees south of the equator — where the Earth’s rotation is slightly faster than in higher latitudes — launches from Alcântara are easier for so-called geosynchronous satellites, which return to the same position in the sky after each sidereal day.

The margins are small, but they make a huge difference for orbital rocket companies. It is estimated that launches from Alcântara expend 30 percent less fuel than stations further from the equator. Furthermore, the state of...

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