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VS-40 [IAE]

VS-40M (SHEFEX 2, enlarged fins) [DLR]

VS-40M (SARA-Suborbital 1) [IAE]

The Brazilian VS-40 (Veículo de Sondagem 40) vehicle is an aerodynamically solid-fueled sounding rocket consisting of the third and fourth stages of the VLS orbital launch vehicle, which were derived from the first stage of the Sonda-4 sounding rocket.

The vehicle was originally used for testing the upper stages of the VLS rocket, but has since found occasional use as a large sounding rocket.

With a length of 6.725 m and a diameter of 1 m, the vehicle consists of the S40TM first stage of 4200 kg and the S44M second stage of 810 kg. The vehicle is aerodynamically stabilized by four rectangular fins. If required, enlarged fins can be used. The lift off weight is 6737 kg. It is capable to lift a 500 kg payload to a height of 650 km, resulting in 760 sec of microgravity time.

The VS-40 rocket is launched from a rail launcher. VS-40 rockets have been launched both from Alcantara in Brazil and Andøya Rocket Range in Norway.

Version Stage 1 Stage 2
VS-40 S-40TM S-44
VS-40M S-40M S-44
Nr TypeNr  Serial   Vehicle    Date              LS         Payload

 1    1    PT-01    VS-40      02.04.1993  *     Al         R&D (Operação Santa Maria)
 2    2    PT-02    VS-40      21.03.1998  *     Al         VAP-1 (Operação Livramento)
 3    1             VS-40M     22.06.2012  *     And U3     SHEFEX 2
 4    2    V03      VS-40M     13.11.2015  *  F  Al         SARA-Suborbital 1 (Operação São Lourenço)


 x    x    Vxx      VS-40M     xx.xx.2018  *     Wo         HIFiRE 8
 x    x    Vxx      VS-40M     xx.xx.201x  *     ?          SARA-Suborbital 2


Flight 4:   Exploded on lift-off

Launch sites:

Al  = Alcantara Space Center (CLA), Brazil Brazil
And = Andøya Space Center (Andøya Rocket Range), Andøya, Nordland, Norway Norway
Wo  = Woomera Instrumented Range, Woomera, South Australia, Australia Australia