The US Government has signed a technology safeguards agreement (TSA) with the Brazilian Government to allow US companies to carry out space launches from the South American country.

Through the agreement, the US looks to utilise Brazil’s geographic advantage to reduce the cost of space launches.

US rocket companies will be able to make significant cost savings from launches from Brazil. The country’s proximity to the equator means the flights will be much shorter, thereby reducing fuel consumption.

The deal could offer companies access to the Alcantara base on Brazil’s north coast.

According to media reports, launches from Alcantara are estimated to deliver up to 30% in fuel savings.

“Brazil’s proximity to the equator makes it an ideal launch location.”

The TSA was signed by US Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Christopher Ford and Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Ambassador Ernesto Araujo.

The agreement framework includes technology safeguards related to US participation in space launches from Brazil.

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In a statement, the US State Department said: “Upon entry into force, the agreement will establish the technical safeguards to support US space launches from Brazil while ensuring the proper handling of sensitive US technology consistent with US nonproliferation policy, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), and US export control laws and regulations.”

The signing of the agreement ensures the protection of sensitive information about US rockets and technology from misuse.

According to Reuters, the US Government previously tried to forge a space partnership with Brazil in 2003. However, the efforts to sign a TSA were opposed by political opposition over granting US unverified access to the Alcantara base.

A host of US firms are said to be interested in the Alcantara base as a potential launch site. The list includes Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Vector Launch.

Addressing a press conference, US President Donald Trump said: “I’m also pleased to announce that after 20 years of talks, we are finalising a TSA to allow US companies to conduct space launches from Brazil.

“Brazil’s proximity to the Equator makes it an ideal launch location. My administration is committed to reviving America’s proud legacy in space.”

The news agency reported that Brazil is keen on gaining a share of the $300bn-a-year space launch business by luring US firms to launch satellites from the country.

Meanwhile, a CNBC report stated that the Alcantara base is dormant with almost negligible activity since August 2003 following a rocket explosion on the launchpad.