The Brazilian Sounding Rocket VSB-30

Hello reader!

I bring to you now informations about the "Brazilian Project of the Sounding Rocket VSB-30". This project was developed by the Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE) of the Brazilian Air Force (FAB) by solicitation of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in order to attend the “European Microgravity Program”. This rocket already carried out nine well succeeded flights and it is prepared to carry out one more mission now in october from the Center of Launch of Alcântara (CLA) that is located in the brazilian state of Maranhão.

Duda Falcão

The Brazilian Sounding Rocket VSB-30

The “Unified Microgravity Sounding Rocket Program for the Future”, was established by a consortium of organizations (DLR-MORABA, Astrium GmbH, Swedish Space Corporation e Kayser-Threde GmbH) in order to perform microgravity experiments by means of sounding rockets. Among these experiments , is included in the program TEXUS, whose launch was carried out with the vehicle Skylark 7.

In 2001, the German Space Agency (DLR) has consulted the Institute of Aeronautics and Space (IAE) on the possibility of developing a “Booster” for employment in the European Microgravity Program, replacing the vehicle Skylark 7 that left to be produced.

This development coincided with the interests of Brazil, not only by the commercial aspect but also because of the possibility of employment in Microgravity Project of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB), and the agreement between the Aerospace Technical Center (CTA) and DLR/MORABA became reality.

On June 15, 2004, the Institute of Aeronautics and Space, iniciated the Certification Process by the Institute of Development na Industrial Coordination (IFI), and five years later, the certificate to the prototype of the VSB-30 was obtained.

The contribution of certification on the reliability for a space rocket is hard to quantify. However, a significant reduction in failures has been observed in all projects that have adopted this procedure. In the case of VSB-30, all test performed have achieved success.


Length: 12,7 m

Takeoff mass: 2598 kg

Propellant mass: 1548 kg

Burn Time

First stage (booster): 12 s

Second stage: 19,7 s

Maximum speed: 2000 m/s

Maximum acceleration: 12 g

Payload mass: 400 kg

Microgravity time: ≥ 360


VSB-30 V01 (Qualification) - October/2004 - CLA (Brazil)

VSB-30 V02 (ESA - TEXUS EML-1) - October/2005 - Esrange (Sweden)

VSB-30 V03 (ESA - TEXUS 43) - March/2006 - Esrange (Sweden)

VSB-30 V04 (AEB - MICROG1) - July/2007 - CLA (Brazil)

VSB-30 V05 and V06 (ESA - TEXUS 44 and 45) - February/2008 - Esrange (Sweden)

VSB-30 V08 (ESA - MASER 11) - May/2008 - Esrange (Sweden)

VSB-30 V09 and V010 (ESA - TEXUS 46 and 47) - November/2009 - Esrange (Sweden)


VSB-30 V07 (AEB - MICROG1A) - October/2010 - CLA (Brazil)

VSB-30 V12 and V13 (Australian-Brazilian-US-German HIFire Program) - April/2011 - Woomera (Australia)

VSB-30 V14 (ESA - TEXUS 48 and 50) - 2011 - Esrange (Sweden)

VSB-30 V15 (ESA - MASER 12) 2011 - Esrange (Sweden)

Source: Journal of Aerospace Technology and Management (JATM)


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