At the end of this month, the first Earth observation and monitoring satellite entirely designed, integrated, tested and operated by Brazil will go into space. The Amazônia 1 satellite was developed by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in partnership with the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB).
The launch will take place at 1:54 am on February 28 (Brasília time) on the PSLV-C51 mission of the Indian space agency Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). The satellite is part of the so-called Amazônia Mission, created to provide sensing data to observe and monitor deforestation.
The assembly, integration and testing stages of Amazônia 1, which will also monitor agriculture across the country, were carried out at the INPE Integration and Testing Laboratory, in São José dos Campos (SP). After that, the satellite modules were separated, packed in containers and transported to the Sriharikota base, where the launch will take place.
Lack of support
Although the launch of the satellite is a milestone for the Brazilian space industry, the initial proposal was that Amazonia 1 could have been launched in 2010, but the lack of funding in projects linked to the sector by the governments that have followed since the time of the project ended up generating several postponements.
Even so, and even going up to the already technologically outdated space, Amazonia 1 represents the victory of the effort of a small team that wages an sometimes inglorious struggle to do space science without any support. While the creators of the Brazilian satellite pleaded for resources, countries like India and China have already gone to the Moon and Mars.
Amazonia 1 is a polar orbit satellite that will generate images of the Earth every four days. For this, it will take to space a wide field camera, capable of observing a 720 km range with 40 meters of resolution. Its useful life is four years. The mission also foresees the launch of Amazonia 1b and Amazonia 2.