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Amazonia 1, the first Earth observation satellite designed, integrated and operated entirely by Brazil, is already in orbit

The launch from the launch center of the Satish Dhawan Space Center in Sriharikota, India in the early hours of Sunday morning was a success. Brazil’s first fully designed, integrated, tested and operated Earth observation satellite is located in space at an average altitude of 752 km above the earth’s surface.

The President of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB / MCTI), Carlos Moura, who is part of the delegation of the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Marcos Pontes, followed the launch live from India. The director of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE / MCTI), Clezio de Nardin, was also present at the launch.

Minister Pontes spoke about the importance of the Mission to Brazil. “The satellite will be fundamental to monitoring the Amazon and other biomes in Brazil and ushering in a new era for the Brazilian satellite industry,” he said. INPE / MCTI Director Clezio de Nardin also celebrated the success of the launch, one of the most important milestones in the development of a satellite, and confirmed the completion of basic procedures for the operation of the device. The satellite carried out the first planned activities, e.g. B. opening the solar panel, stabilizing its orientation with respect to the earth, preliminary checking of its subsystems and the standby mode. Now we are starting the testing phase to check the satellite and adjust its camera, which will allow us to get the first high resolution image generated by Amazonia 1.

Amazonia 1 is the third operational Brazilian remote sensing satellite along with CBERS 4 and 4A. The team is part of the Amazon mission, the aim of which is to provide remote sensing data for observation and surveillance in particular of the Amazon region and to monitor agriculture in the country, in the coastal region, in water reservoirs and in forests (natural and cultivated). It is also possible to use it to monitor possible environmental disasters. The mission intends to launch two more remote sensing satellites at a time to be determined: Amazonia 1B and Amazonia 2.

The technological gains that the mission aims to bring to the country include the consolidation of Brazil’s knowledge throughout the satellite development cycle, the development of the national industry for the opening mechanisms of solar panels, and the development of the propulsion of the attitude and orbit of the control subsystem in the national Industry and the consolidation of knowledge in the launch campaign of more complex satellites.

Amazonia 1 is a synchronous (polar) satellite in solar orbit that generates images of the planet every 5 days. For this purpose, it has an optical wide-angle imager (camera with 3 frequency bands in the visible VIS spectrum and 1 band in the near infrared or NIR infrared), which can observe a range of approx. 850 km with a resolution of 64 meters.

The orbit was designed to have a high response rate (5 days) and thus be able to deliver a significant amount of data from the same point on the planet. Upon request, Amazonia 1 can provide data from a specific point in two days. This feature is extremely valuable in Earth observation applications as it increases the likelihood of capturing useful images given the cloud cover in the region.

The Amazonia series satellites will consist of two independent modules: a service module, the Multimission Platform (PMM); and a payload module containing image cameras and devices for recording and transmitting image data.

Five companies associated with the So Jos dos Campos Technology Park programs are directly linked to the Amazonia Mission. Two Akaer Group companies have developed the WFI camera, which is specially designed for monitoring the Amazon and capturing color images in areas of approximately 640,000 km to reduce the time it takes to cover the entire forest. The companies also developed the Digital Data Recorder, a radiation-resistant device that records and stores image data collected during times when the satellite is out of sight of ground stations, providing flexibility for the mission.

Omnisys, a subsidiary of Thales in Brazil, developed and produced the AWDT Band X transmitter and antenna, technologies that allow satellite image data to be sent to receiving stations on Earth. Also the hardware and software for testing the Remote Telemetry Unit (RTU), a device that performs the remote acquisition of telemetry and the distribution of commands for the devices and subsystems embedded in the satellite.

The Fibraforte company developed the propulsion subsystem that is responsible for changing the speed of the satellite and ensuring that it is correctly deployed and maintained in its nominal orbit. AEL Sistemas, a member of the Aeroespacel Brazil sector project, developed and manufactured DC / DC converters that are responsible for converting electrical voltage levels to power the satellite systems. (Javier Bonilla)

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