Brazil Launches First Satellite with National Technology

Brazil Launches First Satellite with National Technology

By Taciana Moury/Diálogo
April 14, 2021

Amazonia 1, the first satellite completely designed, integrated, tested, and operated in Brazil, was successfully launched on February 28, 2021, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota, India. The equipment will provide remote sensing data to observe and monitor the Amazon region, and to monitor the country’s agriculture, coastal region, and water reservoirs and forests, natural as well as man-made.

The first images sent by the satellite show the Manuripi-Heath Amazonian Wildlife National Reserve, in Bolivia. (Photo: Brazilian National Institute for Space Research)

Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology, Innovations, and Communications (MCTIC, in Portuguese) Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Marcos Pontes pointed out the importance of Amazonia 1 for the country. “The satellite will be crucial for monitoring the Amazon and other ecosystems, in addition to launching a new era for the Brazilian satellite industry,” said the minister on the MCTIC website.

Amazon Mission

Amazonia 1’s true-color image of the Sobradinho reservoir, São Francisco River, and its surroundings was made available to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. (Photo: Brazilian National Institute for Space Research)

The equipment is part of Amazon Mission, which aims to generate remote sensing data to observe and monitor the Amazon region. The Amazon Mission plans to launch two additional remote sensing satellites: the Amazonia-1B and the Amazonia-2.

Nine companies participated in the production process of the Amazonia 1 satellite; five of them are connected to the São José dos Campos Technology Park, in addition to several government agencies. According to Michele Cristina Silva Melo, acting director of Strategic Intelligence and New Businesses at the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB, in Portuguese), the equipment construction and operation process “helped train the national industry on systems and subsystems, increasing the maturity level and requirement for insertion of the Brazilian technology in the global space market.”

There has been a global increase in space industry investments. “In 2008, only 49 countries invested in the space industry. In 2018, that number increased to 72 countries, and in 2020, 79 countries invested in the sector,” according to the AEB website. “By 2040, the space economy is expected to reach a value of $1 trillion. The launch vehicle market alone is expected to reach around $20 billion by 2030.”