Brazilian Space Agency, Brasília
The Brazilian Space Agency is the civilian authority in Brazil responsible for the country's burgeoning space program. It operates a spaceport at Alcântara and a rocket launch site at Barreira do Inferno. The agency has given Brazil a role in space in South America and technically made Brazil a partner for cooperation in the International Space Station.The Brazilian Space Agency is the heir to Brazil's space program. Previously, the program had been under the control of the Brazilian military; the program was transferred into civilian control on 10 February 1994.It suffered a major setback in 2003, when a rocket explosion killed 21 technicians. Brazil successfully launched its first rocket into space on 23 October 2004 from the Alcântara Launch Center; it was a VSB-30 launched on a sub-orbital mission. Several other successful launches have followed.On March 30, 2006, AEB astronaut Marcos Pontes became the first Brazilian and the first native Portuguese-speaking person to go into space, where he stayed on the International Space Station for a week. During his trip, Pontes carried out eight experiments selected by the Brazilian Space Agency. He landed in Kazakhstan on April 8, 2006, with the crew of Expedition 12.
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