During a ceremony at the Planalto presidential palace today (Jun. 15), Brazil signed a document joining the Artemis program, spearheaded by the US—a plan intended to take the first woman and the first black person to the moon in 2024.
In addition to scientific cooperation, the agreement brings a number of principles, guidelines, and good practices for international cooperation in space exploration, including the exploration of the moon’s territory.
As it stands today, Brazil is the only Latin American country to sign the document and the world’s 12th. The signatory countries are Australia, Canada, South Korea, the US, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, United Arab Emirates, New Zealand, the UK, and Ukraine.
At the ceremony, President Jair Bolsonaro said that, in addition to taking the first woman to the moon, the agreement should serve to boost technological development. Bolsonaro added that the deal is another achievement by Brazilian diplomacy. Also remarkable was Brazil’s election last Friday for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, the president mentioned. “This is irrefutable proof of the good ties Brazil has with the entire world,” he argued.
In his address, Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovation Marcos Pontes highlighted recent measures in the space field, among which the agreement inked in 2019 between the US and Brazil for the military and commercial use of the Alcântara launch base, in Maranhão state.
Pontes said that the move should strengthen Brazil’s space program and build a new generation of specialists. “We have open gateways for future scientists, future engineers, future technicians, and future astronauts. Why not?” the minister said.
While speaking at the ceremony, US Ambassador to Brazil Todd Chapman recognized the pioneering role of Santos Dumont in the development of global aviation. The diplomat noted that the inventor, early in the 20th century, gave US national Aida de Acosta the chance to pilot one of his airships, which earned her the title of first woman to lead a motorized aircraft.
Brazil’s Foreign Minister Carlos Alberto França thanked the ambassador for “evoking the memory of Santos Dumont,” alluding to the controversy between the two countries surrounding the invention of the airplane. To this day, most Brazilians consider Dumont to be the inventor of the first airplane, whereas US citizens argue it was invented by the Wright Brothers.