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Diplomacy in Action

The United States and Brazil: Space Cooperation

Fact Sheet
Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs
April 9, 2012


Since Presidents Obama and Rousseff met in March 2010, the United States and Brazil have expanded our collaboration on outer space. Our two countries recognize that we stand to gain from cooperation given our extensive research and development (R&D) capacities, our long history of cooperation in civil remote sensing, space exploration, and other space activities, and the opportunity to strengthen the long-term sustainability of the space environment for future generations. By working bilaterally and multilaterally on using outer space for civilian purposes, mitigating space congestion, and increasing our knowledge base via research and development, the United States and Brazil will continue to enjoy a strong and collaborative partnership.

To highlight our progress in collaboration in outer space activities and to discuss additional opportunities for cooperation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Administrator Charles Bolden traveled to Brazil in October 2011. Capping the visit, Administrator Bolden spoke about the importance of science education with a live student audience and the simulcast participation of nearly 3,000 viewers around Brazil. In September 2011, the Brazilian government declared the Apollo 14 “moon tree” – which grew from one of a few seeds exposed to zero gravity during the 1971 Apollo 14 mission and was donated to Brazil by the United States in 1980 – a protected entity that may not be cut down. The tree is planted at the Institute for Environment and Natural Renewable Resources (IBAMA) headquarters.

The United States and Brazil cooperate on space activities through research and development agencies as well as their respective space agencies. On March 12-13, 2012, during the U.S.-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology, the President’s Advisor for Science and Technology and senior officials from the U.S. Geological Survey oversaw a discussion on Earth Observation for Natural Hazard Prevention. Brazil plays a key role in disseminating National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorological satellite data to users in South America, and is an active advocate with the United States in promoting data democracy, a global effort to make data available to all users in a standard, easy-to-implement format that does not presuppose prior experience or substantial resources.

  • Implementing Arrangement for Cooperation between NASA and the Agencia Espacial Brasileira (AEB) in the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM)
    During the NASA Administrator’s visit to Brazil in October 2011, NASA and AEB signed an Implementing Arrangement that will allow for a scientific and engineering feasibility study for potential cooperation in GPM-related scientific research, ground validation of GPM satellite data, and other related activities. The GPM mission is a multi-satellite constellation project being jointly developed by NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The data acquired by the GPM mission will be beneficial for monitoring and predicting climatological and meteorological changes, and for improving the accuracy of weather and precipitation forecasts. The GPM mission will provide sufficient measurement sampling to acquire high-quality rainfall accumulation products needed by many disciplines, including hydrology, meteorology, oceanography and climate model validation.
  • Implementing Arrangement for Cooperation between NASA and AEB on Ozone Study Cooperation
    During the Administrator’s visit to Brazil in October 2011, NASA and AEB signed an agreement to enable cooperation on an ozone study. The objective of the project is to study the concentrations of various atmospheric constituents in order to contribute to the understanding of the Earth’s ozone layer, its generation, and its depletion, and to help to calibrate and verify satellite remote sensors. The program would supplement measurements being made from Wallops Island, Virginia, and other sites, for coverage of high Earth latitudes.
  • Participation in Earth Observation Coordination and Bilateral Cooperation
    The United States and Brazil participate jointly in several Earth-observation international coordination groups, such as the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS), and the International Charter, Space and Major Disasters. GEO is creating the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), which will link observing systems around the world. GeoNetCast Americas is the Western Hemisphere’s contribution to this global initiative. This system can help the international community protect itself against damages from natural and man-made disasters, respond to climate change, and improve weather forecasts. NOAA and Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), who currently operates two GeoNetCast stations are working together to expand the program in the Western Hemisphere. NOAA, NASA, USGS, and other U.S. government agencies work closely with AEB and INPE on Earth observation and space research. These initiatives foster collaboration among space agencies to produce and share scientific data that are critical to climate change prediction, environmental monitoring, and management of crises arising from major natural or technological disasters.
  • U.S. – Brazil Space Security Dialogue
    The United States and Brazil held their first bilateral Space Security Dialogue in Brasilia on April 5, 2012. This Dialogue affirms both nations’ commitment to collaboration in working toward a more long-term sustainable, stable, safe, and secure space environment. The Space Security Dialogue is an opportunity to build upon our successful civil space cooperation by discussing opportunities to collaborate on space security initiatives and capabilities.

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