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space

Ethanol-fueled rocket

Launch of the VS-30 V13 in the state of Maranhão: soaring to altitudes above 100 kilometers to collect data

aebLaunch of the VS-30 V13 in the state of Maranhão: soaring to altitudes above 100 kilometers to collect dataaeb

The sounding rocket VS-30 V13 was successfully launched from the Alcântara Launch Center in the state of Maranhão on September 1, 2014. The launch took place at 11:02 PM, and it took three minutes and 34 seconds for the rocket to reach the security area designated for the operation. During its trajectory, data were collected to support studies of a GPS system to be used in space, designed by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), as well as a security device for space vehicles, developed at the Aeronautics and Space Institute (IAE). “The experiment team is analyzing the data,” reported Colonel Avandelino Santana Júnior, general coordinator of Operation Fox, initiated on August 12, 2014 and funded by the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). VS-30 V13 is the first of four sub-orbital rockets – devices whose parabolic trajectory reaches upwards of 100 kilometers in altitude, providing a microgravity environment – scheduled for launch by the end of 2014 (see Pesquisa FAPESP Issue Nº 222). The vehicle’s performance was also assessed: for 90 seconds, its experiment module – the so-called payload – was propelled by an L5 engine fueled by liquid oxygen and ethanol. “The launch was an important milestone for the aerospace program because Brazil had not yet launched a liquid-propellant vehicle,” said Santana. He emphasized that the main purpose of the operation was training and qualification for future launches involving liquid propellants.