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Cablegate: Brazil: Update On Space Cooperation

VZCZCXRO1515
RR RUEHRG
DE RUEHBR #1334/01 2821753
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081753Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2615
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 2881
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 6726
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 8562
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0044

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BRASILIA 001334

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR OES/SAT - CHRIS CANNIZZARO
DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/BSC - DAVID SCHNIER
NASA FOR KENT BRESS AND MICHAEL MOORE
NASA FOR DIANE WICKLAND

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KSCA TSPA TSPL SENV BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL: UPDATE ON SPACE COOPERATION

REF: A) BRASILIA 779, B) STATE 87179,
C) BRASILIA 525

1. (U) THIS CABLE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR
INTERNET DISTRIBUTION.

2. (SBU) SUMMARY. On October 1, 2008, Environment, Science,
Technology and Health Counselor met with Luis Maria Pio Correa, the
Acting Director of the Ministry of External Relations (MRE) Division
of Oceans, Antarctica and Space, to discuss U.S.-Brazil space
cooperation. ESTH Counselor updated the MRE on possible
negotiations regarding the framework space cooperation agreement and
two agreements about specific projects. Pio Correa explained that
the MRE was sending a letter to the Ministry of Science and
Technology, which should allow for the release to the USG of a
fallen U.S. space object it is holding. END SUMMARY

3. (SBU) On October 1, Environment, Science, Technology and Health
(ESTH) Counselor discussed U.S.-Brazil space cooperation with Luis
Maria Pio Correa, the Acting Director of the Ministry of External
Relations (MRE) Division of Oceans, Antarctica and Space (DMAE).
The discussion covered, among other things, three agreements that
the USG was seeking authority to negotiate, the recovery of a fallen
space object, the status of the agreement on the Large Scale
Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia (LBA) signed in 2006,
and possible sharing of information from the China-Brazil Earth
Resources Satellite (CBERS) to fill the gap that may be left in
remote sensing coverage under the LANDSAT program.

4. (SBU) ESTH Counselor informed Pio Correa that the USG was
seeking authority (i.e., through the C-175 process) to negotiate
three agreements concerning U.S.-Brazil space cooperation. These
agreements are: (1) a framework space cooperation agreement to
replace the current one, which is due to expire at the conclusion of
a one-year extension on January 31, 2009 (see REFTEL A); (2) an
agreement concerning Brazil's participating in the global
precipitation measurement program, led by the United States and
Japan; and (3) an agreement on the study of the ozone to replace an
agreement involving the use of atmospheric balloons for these ozone
studies that expired in September 2008. MRE, the Brazilian Space
Agency (AEB), and the National Space Research Institute (INPE) have
each expressed interested in these agreements.

5. (SBU) With respect to the framework agreement, ESTH Counselor
shared with Pio Correa a copy of the U.S.-French framework agreement
(provided earlier by OES/SAT), which included an acceptable
provision on cross-waiver of liability. That provision is likely to
be the most difficult issue for the U.S.-Brazilian agreement.
Further, ESTH Counselor reiterated the USG interest in arranging
soon an informal discussion between the U.S. and Brazilian lawyers
on that liability issue. Pio Correa said they would seek to arrange
this. COMMENT. Pio Correa noted one complication for negotiations
of the framework space cooperation agreement - and possibly the
other agreements - is that the Director of the Department of the
Environment, which oversees DMAE, Minister Luis Figueiredo Machado,
has signaled that he wanted to be personally involved in the
negotiations. He had previously been the Director of DMAE.
Unfortunately, Figueiredo Machacho also has international climate
change negotiations in his wide portfolio and has very little time
to devote to space cooperation. END COMMENT.

RECOVERY OF FALLEN SPACE OBJECT

5. (SBU) Pio Correa explained that the MRE was sending a letter to
the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT), which is the parent
organization for INPE, to authorize the return to the USG of the
fallen space object (REFTELS B and C). He explained that INPE had
possession of the object.

EXTENSION OF LBA

6. (SBU) In July 2006, the USG and the GOB signed a renewal of the
Implementing Arrangement for Cooperation on Environmental Scientific
Research in the Large Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in
Amazonia Agreement(LBA). The MRE determined that this agreement
would need the approval of the Brazilian Congress. Pio Correa
stated that the transmittal package was still at the President's
Office (Casa Civil) and had not yet been sent to the Congress. He
explained that the Casa Civil had been requesting numerous
background materials and justifications before sending it to the
Congress. He did not say when it would be transmitted, but he
expected it would be sent soon.


BRASILIA 00001334 002 OF 002


POSSIBILITY OF SHARING CBERS DATA

7. (SBU) ESTH Counselor and Pio Correa discussed in general terms
the possibility of sharing of data from the China-Brazil Earth
Resources Satellite (CBERS) to fill the gap that may be left in
coverage under the LANDSAT program. Pio Correa said that he did not
see any problem coming from Brazil. He understood, however, that
Brazil would need China's permission to share the data from CBERS
with the United States.

8. (SBU) Finally, Pio Correa stressed that his small office was
understaffed and overworked. He hoped that in the near future they
would soon have a new Director of DMAE, which would provide some
relief.

9. (SBU) COMMENT. Space cooperation appears to have the support of
the Brazilian technical agencies - AEB and INPE - and concurrence of
MRE. Nonetheless, the severe shortage of officials at MRE working
on space cooperation is slowing the speed with which we can make
progress. Goodwill has not been able to compensate for the lack of
staff at MRE. It is possible that if the framework space
cooperation agreement can be concluded in the mid-term, this success
might ease the way for the other two space cooperation agreements.
END COMMENT.

SOBEL

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