After four delays in the past few days due to bad weather and high winds, the Brazilian-Argentinean space rocket finally took off this Sunday morning, December 16, and it was a 9 minute and 25 second hit for the first Brazil-Argentina space mission.
According to the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), the rocket carrying scientific experiments was launched at 6:15 am from the launching center at Barreira do Inferno (Hell Barrier) in Parnamirim in the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte.
It took the Brazilian-made VS-30 rocket seven minutes to reach a height of 121 km (75 miles). It was enough time to carry two Argentinean experiments in microgravity and to test a GPS (Global Positioning System)Â built by scientists at the Rio Grande do Norte Federal University (UFRN).
According to official data, the rocket's flight was considered perfect. Tracing and data transmission also worked flawlessly, according to the same sources. The rocket's payload was recouped by theÂ Brazilian Air Force which sent two Black Hawk helicopters and a submarine team to get the payload when it splashed down 120 km off the Brazilian coast.
While the Argentinean modules will be examined inÂ Buenos Aires, the Brazilian experiment will be analyzed by the UFRN. The GPS results should be used in future software for rockets and satellites.
The so-called Angicos Operation is the result of an agreement between Brazil and Argentina and involves more than 100 scientists from both countries.
For colonel Luiz Fernando de Azevedo from the Brazilian Air Force and the project coordinator on Brazil's side, Argentina got the most benefits in this joint mission, but he didn't deny Brazil's gains: "We not only conducted a Brazilian experiment and made our own tests, but we are also going to launch another rocket. This is essential to keep our technology and maintain the teams trained."
The Angicos project cost the Brazilian government 1.5 million Brazilian reais (US$ 841,000) not including expenses with the scientists salaries. Argentina invested about US$ 500,000 in the venture.
A VSB-30 sounding rocket, launched in July by Brazil was a failure. At that time the payload prepared by German scientists got lost in the ocean and was never found.