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Brazil renounces project envisioning launch of Ukrainian carrier rocket into space

April 10, 2015, 3:17 UTC+3 RIO DE JANEIRO
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RIO DE JANEIRO, April 10. /TASS/. Brazil has decided to renounce a project for cooperation with Ukraine in the field of space launches, Folha de Sao Paolo newspaper said in a report on its website.

The decision on cancel a bilateral agreement on the launch of Ukrainian rockets with commercial satellites was taken after twelve years of delays, it said adding that President Dilma Rousseff had given OK to the move on the basis of a report compiled by an inter-departmental group of experts in January.

Folha said, however, that the Brazilian authorities had not communicated their decision to Kiev yet.

The Cyclone-4 carrier rockets were supposed to lift off from the Alcantara launching pad in the state of Maranhao. Brazilian experts believe the cost of the launches is too big for the current contractual conditions.

The newspaper noted the initial expensiveness of the project, saying it would be unprofitable over a period of twenty or so years.

The step now opens up the door for negotiations with the U.S., since the Americans have always found the use of the Alcantara facility highly desirable due to Alcantara’s closeness to the equator, which makes it highly suitable for the launches of telecommunications satelllites.

The Cyclone-4 project is a distant offspring of the Soviet space programme. After the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine found itself in the position of an owner of several segments of the programme, including this one.

Ukrainian authorities offered it to Brazil in 2003 and the first launch was supposed to take place in 2007 but a number of factors resulted in several consecutive delays. Folha said the project had always been criticized by the Brazilian Air Force, which believed it was diverting funds from the national space launch projects.

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