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India signs MoU to launch Brazilian microsatellites

India and Brazil have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) whereby Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch Brazilian microsatellites on Indian vehicles. The co-operation between the two countries on space programme was announced during the recent visit of Brazilian foreign minister to India. Sources said it was followed up with a delegation from the Brazilian Space Agency’s visit to Bangalore where an agreement was reached.

According to ISRO officials, both sides wanted to explore further co-operation in areas such as satellites, sharing space science facilities, training in remote sensing applications and communications. India and Brazil signed an MoU for space co-operation last year. The renewal of Brazil’s ESA (European Space Agency) and India’s ISRO framework agreement in January this year permits Brazil and India to explore areas of joint co-operation in radio navigation, earth observation and space science. This got a boost when India extended an offer to Brazil to launch its micro-satellites at the first India-Brazil joint commission meeting held in New Delhi last month.

The failure of Brazil’s VLS-3 rocket in August, which was to put two satellites into orbit, marked Brazil’s third unsuccessful space bid since 1997, was a likely reason that has made this co-operation imminent, said sources. A joint communique between ISRO and the Brazilian Space Agency at Brazilia, was signed in March, 2000. Both sides talked of the need to proceed on co-operation on satellites and their applications; mutual use of space science facilities, training in remote sensing applications; and sharing of experience in developmental communications. It was decided to hold additional consultations on the setting up of the appropriate mechanisms for the implementation of the agreed cooperation. Brazil is at present negotiating with the United States and the Ukraine to allow use of the base to launch their rockets.