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Alcântara Launch Center
Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara
Maranhao Municip Alcantara.svg
Location of the Alcântara Launch Center
Airport type Military: Air Force Base and Spaceport
Operator Brazilian Air Force
Brazilian Space Agency
Location Alcântara, Maranhão,
Built 1982
In use 1989 - present
Elevation AMSL 148 ft / 45 m
Coordinates 2°22′23″S 44°23′47″W / 2.37306°S 44.39639°W / -2.37306; -44.39639Coordinates: 2°22′23″S 44°23′47″W / 2.37306°S 44.39639°W / -2.37306; -44.39639
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,600 8,530 Asphalt
Sources: CLA Airport Info[1]

The Alcântara Launch Center (Portuguese: Centro de Lançamento de Alcântara (CLA)) is a satellite launching facility of the Brazilian Space Agency in the city of Alcântara, located on Brazil's northern Atlantic coast, in the state of Maranhão.[2] It is operated by the Brazilian Air Force (Comando da Aeronáutica). The CLA is the closest launching base to the equator. This gives the launch site a significant advantage in launching geosynchronous satellites, an attribute shared by the Guiana Space Centre.

Construction of the base began in 1982. The first launch occurred on February 21, 1990, when the sounding rocket Sonda 2 XV-53 was launched.[citation needed]

So far,[when?] only sounding rockets and VLS rockets have been launched from Alcântara. On August 22, 2003, the explosion of the third VLS-1 (XV-03) killed 21 people.[citation needed]

There are also plans to launch several international rockets from Alcântara. In 2003 contracts were signed to launch Ukrainian Tsyklon-4[3] (as of December 2009 planned to be launched by the end of 2010[2]) and Israeli Shavit[4] rockets; In addition there are further plans to launch the Russian Proton rocket.[5]. In the beginning of 2018, Brazilian government offered the possibility to use the spaceport to several U.S. companies.[6]


  • Engine preparation facilities (Preparação de Propulsores - PPP)
  • Payload preparation facilities (Preparação de Carga Útil - PPCU)
  • Liquid-fuel loading facilities (Preparação de Carregamento de Propelentes - PCPL)
  • Universal launch tower
  • Mobile Integration Tower (TMI - Torre Móvel de Integração): 33x10x13m, 380tons. Used for assembly of the VLS rockets.
  • Control center (Prédio de Controle Avançado - CASAMATA).
  • 2600m runway

List of launchpads[edit]

The Alcântara launch pads include:[citation needed]

Launch List[edit]

Date Vehicle Mission Results
21 February 1990 Sonda 2 XV-53 Alcântara Ionosphere 101 km
26 November 1990 Sonda 2 XV-54 Manival Ionosphere 91 km
9 December 1991 Sonda 2 XV-55 Aguas Belas Ionosphere 88 km
1 June 1992 Sonda 3 XV-24 Aeronomy 282 km
31 October 1992 Sonda 2 XV-56 Ponta de Areia Ionosphere 32 km
22 March 1993 Sonda 2 XV-57 Maruda Ionosphere 102 km
2 April 1993 VS-40 PT-01 VS-40 Test 950 km
19 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
20 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
24 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
25 August 1994 Nike Orion MALTED/CADRE Ionosphere 140 km
9 September 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
21 September 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
23 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
23 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
24 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
24 September 1994 Nike Tomahawk Ionosphere 270 km
6 October 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere Failure (250 km)
14 October 1994 Black Brant Guará H.Alt Spread F Ionosphere 956 km
15 October 1994 Black Brant Ionosphere 250 km
28 April 1997 VS-30 XV-01 VS-30 Test 128 km
2 November 1997 VLS-1 V01 VLS-1 Destroyed during launch
21 March 1998 VS-40 VS-40 Test 900 km
15 March 1999 VS-30 XV-04 Operação San Marcos 128 km
11 December 1999 VLS-1 V02 SACI-2 Destroyed by range safety (10 km)
6 February 2000 VS-30 XV-05 Lençóis Maranhenses 148 km
21 August 2000 VS-30/Orion XV-01 Baronesa 315 km
23 November 2002 VS-30/Orion XV-02 Piraperna Ionosphere 434 km
1 December 2002 VS-30 XV-06 Cumã Failure (145 km)
22 August 2003 VLS-1 XV-03 SATEC Failure (2003 Alcântara VLS accident)
23 October 2004 VSB-30 XV-01 Cajuana Test 100 km
23 October 2004 VSB-30 V01 VSB-30 Flight Test 259 km
19 July 2007 VSB-30 V04 Cumã II 242 km
29 May 2009[9] Orion Maracati 1 93 km
10 August 2009 Basic Training Rocket FogTrein I [10]
12 December 2010[11] VSB-30 V07 Maracati 2 242 km (successful; payload recovered)
08 December 2012 VS-30/Orion V10 Iguaiba [12]
23 May 2013 Basic Training Rocket Operação Falcão 1 [13]
9 May 2014 Intermediate Training Rocket Operação Águia 1 [14]
1 September 2014 VS-30 V13 Operação Raposa Test of the L5 (Estágio Líquido Propulsivo (EPL)) liquid fuel rocket engine.[15][16] 3m34s flight time.[17]
Source: Astronautix[18]


  • Operação Santa Bárbara I - 2014, VLS-1 mockup
  • Operação Santa Bárbara II - 2015, VLS-1 VSISNAV

See also[edit]


External links[edit]


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