With help from Russia, can Brazil be a Latin American space exploration giant?
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With help from Russia, can Brazil be a Latin American space exploration giant?

For years now, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Roscosmos, the two biggest space agencies in the world, have been tightening their partnerships with various countries across the globe to strengthen their military and space programs. Among them is Brazil.

Brazil recently agreed to host another monitoring station for Glonass, Russia’s version of the United States’ ubiquitous GPS. According to the Russian government, this is part of a long-term partnership that aims to boost space — and possibly military — cooperation.

“At the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2015, the construction of a third Glonass station in Brazil is planned to begin,” Russia’s federal space agency said in a statement.

Russia’s goal of globalizing its Glonass’ presence is clearly an intrinsic part of expanding its military presence in space and to compete with that of the US. The US, on the other hand, saw this expansion as alarming, misconstruing it for a direct military threat. 

For Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, however, the newly minted deal just shows how committed Brazil is in terms of strengthening its political and economic ties with Russia.

“Our countries are characterized by actively developing economic systems; they pay much attention to prospective spheres of cooperation among which are nuclear power and space exploration. It has already been discussed today. We estimate that these spheres will ultimately become the basis of the Russian-Brazilian technological alliance,” Medvedev said.  

This only shows that the global space exploration market is not just about the US’ NASA. The two space giants are still competing over gaining positions in various countries in Latin America, Asia, and Europe. On the other hand, experts think that Brazil’s actions are a result of its frustrations over many failed attempts to gain presence in space.

“The program with Ukraine did not work out. Brazil would talk with any country, including the United States, to get a Brazilian satellite into space,” Brazil’s Defense Minister Jaques Wagner told Reuters.

In the US alone, private organizations and firms have been doing their share to be part of this industry progress. Most of them are firms that have already contributed to the science segment, if not owned by revere personalities known for their unwavering dedication to making it accessible to wider audiences.

Among which is respected mathematician Ruggero Maria Santilli of Thunder Energies Corporation (OTCQB: TNRG), a firm known for its groundbreaking nuclear technology and fossil fuel combustion products, have shaken the American astrophysics segment with the invention of the Santilli Telescope. This is the first optical instrument that can detect antimatters, or the negative matter particles that have long been considered nonexistent, if not difficult to prove, by modern greats such as Einstein and Newton.

Brazil as a South American nuclear leader

A lot of things have changed for Brazil’s space program ever since its decline from being the sixth largest economy in the world to becoming a runner-up to another Latin-American emerging economy, Mexico. With all financial capabilities being laid on the table, the country managed to host various expansion programs—from partnering with other military-space giants to left-and-right satellite launches down to educating over 75,000 students on the advanced degrees in engineering and physical sciences in and outside the country.

In many ways, the current economic turmoil pulling the country’s finances down has a negative effect to its military and space exploration dreams. How could you allocate a substantial amount of money like you used to if you are beset by quandaries that common notion considered more essential than space expansion—precarious education segment, austerity measures, and pressure coming from the international community on losing its economic momentum from an unexpected country?

There is no denying that the partnership with nuclear power leader Russia could propel Brazil faster into such a lofty dream, especially now that the country is suffering from investment-related quandaries due to its weakening economy.

Last September, right after Brazilian Deputy Foreign Minister Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães visited Moscow, Russia and Brazil signed a document that will strengthen their cooperation in peaceful use of nuclear power. This will touch not only the nuclear-space power and energy industry, but also other industrial and engineering-related segments.

Brazil’s Nuclear Energy Commission Chairman Odair Gonçalves revealed that its main focus is to help the country enhance its nuclear space capacity. This includes the development of uranium prospecting technology, the design of new reactors, and the construction of high-end nuclear research reactors that Rosatom utilizes in Russia.

However, it is not just about military power, since this will also upgrade Brazil’s agricultural and pharmaceutical sector through the nationwide development of radioisotope.

Brazil is indeed a country to watch. With the help from a country that has been long blatant about overtaking NASA’s accomplishments (and the unspoken rivalry brewing—or re-brewing—between them), there is no doubt that Brazil could be a Russian protégé that would make it a dominant nuclear force in the entire Latin American region.

“The South American nation wants to use its enormous proven uranium reserves, which rank as the sixth-largest in the world, as the foundation for its nuclear program, and the country also dominates the full uranium-enrichment process through state-owned INB. The program would expand uranium enrichment, planning for new nuclear power plants and the number of professionals trained in nuclear medicine,” The Latin American Herald Tribune reported.

Brazil has also been blatant on becoming a giant nuclear-dependent country since 1994 when it became a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency and a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. But the real deal behind this space expansion goal lies in one, simple question: How long will Russia extend her hand to Brazil, and could the latter continue if the former’s no longer interested?