The first all-Brazilian satellite was launched in India in the early hours of last Sunday (February 28, 2021). The satellite, called Amazon-1, arrived in space aboard the PSLV-C51 rocket launched on the island of Sriharikota, India, and will have as its primary mission the observation and monitoring of deforestation in the Amazon region.
About 17 minutes after the rocket launch, the satellite split up and did its first planned activities, such as opening the solar panel, stabilizing its orientation to Earth, checking systems, and placing readiness mode.
From the space, it will send the signal to three monitoring stations in Brazil: one in Cuiabá (MT), the other in Alcântara (MA) and the third in Cachoeira Paulista (SP). All satellite movements will be coordinated from another station, which is located at the National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The satellite is expected to generate images of the entire Earth every five days and can be programmed to provide data from a specific point of the planet every two days.
In addition to Amazon 1, the rocket took another 18 passenger satellites that include four from India’s National Space Promotion and Authorization Center (IN-SPACe). Among the four, three are UNITYsats from a consortium of three Indian academic institutes and one from Satish Dhawan Sat of Space Kidz India, and 14 from NewSpace India Ltd. (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
In a tweet sent by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Modi wrote:
“Congratulations President @jairbolsonaro on the successful launch of Brazil’s Amazonia-1 satellite by PSLV-C51. This is a historic moment in our space cooperation and my felicitations to the scientists of Brazil.”
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 28, 2021
The launch of The Amazon-1 was witnessed in India by the Brazilian Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Marcos Pontes and the directors of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) and INPE.
The Brazilian satellite was launched in India, and not on the platform of the Alcântara military base in Maranhão, because Brazil does not have a rocket that is large enough to put Amazon 1 into space. This is because each rocket has a specific pattern. What exists in Brazil is about 19.7 meters high, while the Indian platform is 44.4 meters.
Amazon 1, which is 4 meters long and 640 kg heavy and fully developed at INPE, will stay 752 kilometers above the earth’s surface in an orbit between the north and south poles and will capture images in high resolution. With six kilometers of wires and 14,000 electrical connections, Amazon 1 is able to observe a range of approximately 850 km with 64 meters of resolution. INPE points out that the Amazon Mission will yield to Brazil the consolidation of knowledge in the complete cycle of satellite development, the development of the national industry of the mechanisms for opening solar panels, the development of the propulsion of the subsystem of altitude control and orbit in the national industry and the consolidation of knowledge in the campaign to launch more complex satellites.
The launch rocket also took to space the Hindu sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita, in secure digital card (SD) format. In addition, an image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will remain engraved at the top of the panel of a co-pilot satellite. There will also be about 25,000 names aboard the SD SAT, all sent by people at the request of space authorities for their location in space.
ISRO officials, including its president, Dr. K. Sivan, were camped in Shar to oversee the launch. Sivan offered prayers at the sacred shrine of Tirupati Balaji for the success of the first mission in 2021.