Brazil successfully launched into space over the weekend a mid-sized rocket developed domestically and carrying a number of experiments on weightlessness, which were recovered at sea after a short flight.
The VSB-30 V07 rocket, developed with domestic technology by researchers at the Aeronautics and Space Institute, or IAE, was launched from Alcantara, a spaceport that Brazil operates in the Amazon near the border with Ecuador, the space agency said.
The spacecraft, designed by Brazilian and German scientists, was launched at 12:35 p.m. Sunday, reached an altitude of 242 kilometers (150 miles), and after an 18-minute flight, fell into the Atlantic Ocean at 145 kilometers (90 miles) from the spaceport following its planned trajectory, the IAE said. The spacecraft was recovered by Brazilian Air Force and Navy.
Brazil aims to join China and Russia as a top emerging economy with its own space program. The launch is seen as a major accomplishment for a program that has faced setbacks and tragedy over the years – including an August 2003 rocket accident at Alcantara that killed 21 Brazilian technicians and engineers.