A Brazilian air force official said the final go-ahead contract for Brazil’s civil-military SGDC telecommunications satellite will be signed “within a couple of weeks” with builder Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy.

Once built, the satellite likely will enable Brazil to end many of its satellite bandwidth lease contracts with commercial operators, the official said.

The contract, which has been held up by financial discussions between the government and the private-sector consortium that will operate the system, is being structured to maximize the technology transfer to Brazilian industry.

Lt. Col. Jose Everardo Ferreira of the Brazilian air force, speaking Nov. 5 at the Global Milsatcom conference in London organized by SMi Group, said the satellite will be controlled exclusively by Brazilian officials from Brazilian territory.

The SGDC, or Geostationary Defense and Strategic Communications Satellite, is viewed in Brazil as the first step in a dual-use space development program that includes Earth observation satellites to survey Brazilian territory and monitor its borders.

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Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.