Launching satellites into orbit is only reserved for organisations like NASA and Space X. In fact, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recently launched its very own satellite, called Amazonia-1, on Sunday, 28 February, which will be used to monitor the Amazon rain forests.
The launch of Amazonia-1, which took place at Indian’s space center on the island of Sriharikota, is a huge milestone for Brazil, as it represents the first satellite to be designed, produced, and operated from Brazilian soil. Along with monitoring the Amazon rain forests, Amazonia-1 will also provide researchers with real-time updates on deforestation and agricultural activity.
Congratulations to NSIL and @isro on the success of the 1st dedicated commercial launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 Mission. This ushers in a new era of Space reforms in the country. 18 co-passengers included four small satellites that showcase dynamism and innovation of our youth. pic.twitter.com/BbWYGLsyvo
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 28, 2021
According to Science Mag, Amazonia-1 is roughly 2.5-meter-long and weighs in at a hefty 640 kilograms. It features three wide-angle cameras which will be used to detect any signs of deforestation in areas bigger than four soccer fields.
Development of Amazonia-1 started back in 2008 and saw more than a dozen companies join forces to create the satellite, which cost around $60 million to develop. While this figure might sound out of this world, Adenilson Silva, an engineer at Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said that the $60 million figure is only about one-sixth of what it would cost to import ready-to-use equipment’ from a neighbouring country.
Amazonia-1 won’t be monitoring the Amazon jungles alone though. Two more Brazilian-made satellites will be produced in the future to perform the same job as Amazonia-1.