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SPACE FLIGHT 1999 - Other Countries Space Activities

In Latin America, Chile, Brazil and Argentina continued to press ahead with efforts to expand their space launch and operations capability and are developing into satellite markets with great promise. In Brazil, the second consecutive failure of the Veiculo Lancador de Satellites VLS-1 on 12/11 with the SACI-2 satellite containing university-built experiments, did not deter further developmental work on the indigenously built launchers for placing small satellites in orbit. A third launch, with a French-Brazilian satellite, is planned in about two years. In 1999, Brazil's telecom authority, Anatel, took steps to allow competition and outside operators to provide satellite services in the country. After the giant telecom carrier MCI bought the country's Brasilsat fleet of satcoms, other companies which joined the competition in telecommunications from space in Brazil were such operators as Loral, Sky, Galaxy Latin America, Telesat Canada and GE Americom. In Argentina, established operators are Nahuelsat, Intelsat and Panamasat. Market access for foreign comsat operators increased in 1999 following a bilateral agreement between Argentina and the United States in 1998 covering satellite services.

In Canada, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) continued work on its contribution to the ISS partnership, the Space Station Mobile Service System (SSMSS), consisting of the Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS), the Mobile Base System (SSMBS), and the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM). In 1999, the elements were delivered to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, for launch into space and assembly in 2000. Using the CSA-owned and -operated RADARSAT-1, scientists working on NASA's Antarctic Mapping Project in 1999 completed the first high-resolution radar map of the mysterious frozen continent of Antarctica. Because of the capability of the satellite's radar to collect data day and night, through cloudy weather or clear, the mapping could be completed in just 18 days, compared to the last satellite map of the South Polar continent which required images from five different satellites spanning a 13-year period from 1980 to 1994, with parts of the continents remaining obscured by cloud cover.