Brazil minister to explain US spaceport deal in lower house

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Brazil minister to explain US spaceport deal in lower house

Brazil's science, technology, innovations and communications minister, Marcos Pontes, will be invited by the lower house's ICT committee to explain the Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) signed with the US for the commercial use of Alcântara space center.

The request to invite Pontes to a public hearing on April 3 was approved during the committee's first meeting on Wednesday.

President Jair Bolsonaro signed the TSA deal during on his trip to Washington, where he met with US President Donald Trump.

The deal still needs congressional approval.

Washington wanted the deal as it owns most of the technology used in the construction and launch of satellites across the world .

Pontes was invited , but not summoned, to talk about what should be the main policies and priorities of his ministry, but lawmakers also thought it necessary to discuss the TSA deal.

According to Pontes' ministry (MCTIC), the TSA deal does not violate Brazil's sovereignty and will allow not only the US but also other countries to launch satellites from the Alcântara Space Center (CEA) in Maranhão.

The defense ministry forecasts the deal could generate 1.5bn reais (US$400mn) to the Brazilian economy.

A similar Brazil-US TSA for the use of the Alcântara base was signed in 2000 but generated much controversy and congress never voted it.

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