VLS - Cruzeiro do Sul



On October 24, 2005, the Brazilian government unveiled its ambitious "Cruzeiro do Sul" space-rockets program, which will be jointly conducted by the CTA and AEB in partnership with the Russians and will include the development of five new launchers until 2022. The partnership with the Russians begins by the technical review of the VLS-alfa project and consulting services in engineering. Meetings between scientists of the AEB, the Russian agency RFSA - Russian Federal Space Agency, and INPE, besides representatives of the Air Force Command and business sector, serve to discuss the joint work under the supervision of technicians from the Russian space agency. The main contractor is probably State Rocket Center “Makeyev” Design Bureau.

Characteristics of the future Brazilian rocket family, according to CTA:

VLS Alfa: Initial vehicle of the family. The VLS-1 will be changed by a new liquid propellant upper stage with KBKhA engine
RD-0109 (or Brazilian MFPL-75). This configuration will have a capacity of 250 kg to place satellites in a 750 km equatorial orbit.
VLS Beta: This configuration is composed of a larger new first stage, contain solid propellant, and two liquid propellant upper stages. The performance of this vehicle will allow the launch of satellites of up to 800 kg in equatorial orbit.
VLS Gama: It is the first vehicle of the Southern Cross Program. Liquid propellant is contains in all stages. The first stage is propelled by a Russian
NK-33-1 engine. The launcher will have capacity to place satellites in polar orbits and geostationary transfer orbits.
VLS Delta: Using two solid propellant boosters, the VLS Delta have an upgraded capacity to its predecessor (VLS Gama). The transport of satellites of up to 2 tons in a geostationary transfer orbit is possible.
VLS Epsilon: It is the final launcher configuration of the Southern Cross Program, with a capacity to transport satellites up to 4 tons in a geostationary transfer orbit. The launcher consist of three liquid propellant main stages and two liquid propellant booster stages. Some launchers are related to the former OrionSpace Launch System Project

Brazil plans to develop its own carrier rocket VLS-alfa for conveying small satellites into orbit by 2014.

The test launch of the VLS-Alfa rocket is scheduled for 2012 and the first launch of the fully loaded rocket is due in 2013.

Brazilian-Russian cooperation established in 2004 to improve the Brazilian launch vehicle VLS-1. The modification of the VLS-1 based on the substitution of upper stages by an single stage with indigenous liquid-propellant rocket engine RD-0109.
All main electronic devices of vehicle and the reaction attitude control system are placed in the upper stage.

VLS Alfa

New: Brazil has come out with a new strategic plan to guide its space efforts through 2021 that involves a significant change in its effort to develop a domestic satellite launch industry.
Brazil has scaled back an ambitious Southern Cross development program to focus on a series of smaller launch vehicles that appear to rely more on home-grown technology.
The other notable change in the plan is that Brazil and Germany are jointly working on a micro-satellite launcher (VLM Nova) that would be capable of lifting payloads weighing 150 kg into a 300-kilometer orbit.
Meanwhile, Brazil is continuing work on launching Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from the Alcantara Launch Center in 2014.
This is a significant change from Brazil’s previous plan, which featured close co-operation with Russia to develop a new family of boosters under the Southern Cross program. The series would have incorporated technologies from Russia.
The rockets in the Southern Cross program were named:

Alfa (light)
Beta (light)
Gamma (light) – >1 ton to GTO
Delta (medium) – 1.7 tons to GTO
Epsilon (heavy) – 4 tons to GTO.

The Alfa and the Beta rockets appear to have been preserved under the new plan while the Gamma, Delta and Epsilon launch vehicles are no longer there


The OrionSpace Launch Systems Project was a commercial endeavor pursuing the development of a highly competitive commercial space launch services capability as a partnership between Russian, International, and Brazilian interests. The Orion Space Launch Systems Project is based on the technical and operational expertise of Russian space leaders together with Brazil high-technology enterprise leaders in tandem with the existing and enhanced capabilities and services of the Alcantara Launch Center to deliver a commercial launch service suitable for the international geostationary and non-geostationary launch markets.
The Orion Space Launch Systems Project was initiated in 2002 by founding investor
OrionSpace Ventures Ltd. The Project has attracted support from both Brazilian and international enterprises and is working to attract necessary investment and project finance support to achieve business plan goals for delivery of a first launch from Alcantara before 2008.
OrionSpace Ventures Ltd was established in 2003 by the Project’s founding investment group to consolidate the progress and results of previously conducted feasibility efforts in support of the development of the Orion Space Launch Systems Project. Headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, OSV has led the development of the Orion Project effort to date and is currently the lead investor in the project. OSV has overall strategic management responsibility for development of the worldwide project activity and has acquired the exclusive rights to the Russian designed, manufactured and operated Orion Launch System.
The launch system prime contractor,
State Rocket Center “Makeyev” Design Bureau (SRC) manage the development of the Orion launch system.
SRC engage a number of major Russian subcontractors to support the development of the vehicle system including N.D. Kusnetsov with NK-33-1 engine manufacturing, NPO Automation to deliver the flight control (guidance and avionics) systems for the vehicle, and the Progress Manufacturing Plant to serve as the serial production factory for significant elements of the launch system.

The Design Bureau of Transport Machinery (KBTM) lead the development of the ground system interfaces to the Orion launch system.  
The Orion launch vehicle powered by the liquid oxygen/liquid kerosene powered NK-33-1 engine system which was developed and proven on use on the Russian N1 rocket system in the early 1970’s. NK-33-1 power the central or core stage of the booster and also be used as primary propulsion on the two optionally used lateral strap-on booster stages.
The third stage (stage above the core booster stage) powered by the RD-0124E engine system and deliver the satellite and liquid upper stage to low earth orbit. The liquid upper stage, powered by liquid oxygen and kerosene, capable of maneuvering from low earth orbit to a range of orbits including geosynchronous transfer and direct to geosynchronous orbit itself.
Orion capable of delivering satellites weighing up to 6 tonnes into geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) and over 14 tonnes into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).