Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Alcântara rocket launch site, Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara (CLA), is located at the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the north of Brazil, in the state of Maranhão. Geographical location . It is operated by the Brazilian Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Brasileira).
The location is very close to the equator; in fact, the Alcantara site is the closest to the equator of any in the world. This gives the launch site a big advantage in launching geosynchronous satellites, similar to the European launch site at Kourou.
So far only sounding rockets and the so far ill-fated VLS rocket were launched from Alcantara. On August 22, 2003, the explosion of the third VLS-1 (VO3) killed 21 people. There are plans to launch several international rockets from Alcantara. In 2003 contracts have been signed for launching Ukrainian Cyclone-4 and Israeli Shavit rockets; further plans are to launch the Russian Proton and the Chinese Long March 4 as well.
Alcantara is also a man made suede like material used in a variety of industries. See www.alcantara.it
- Encyclopedia Astronautica about Alcantara
- Space Today - Brazilian Spaceports
- Official site (Portuguese)
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