This week will witness the launch of the Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-51 at 10.28 am on February 28, 2021. It will be launched from the First Launch Pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, Sriharikota.
In the first mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2021, Brazilian satellite Amazonia-1 is the primary payload and there will be three Indian payloads, including one built by a home-grown start-up. As has been reported by Financial Express Online, Amazonia-1 is the first earth observation satellite which has been developed, designed and assembled and tested entirely by Brazil.
This launch was earlier scheduled for a launch in July 2020, however had to be rescheduled because of the lockdown due to global COVID-19 pandemic.
According to ISRO, “PSLV-C51 will be launching Amazonia-1 as the primary satellite. There will be 18 co-passengers and it will be using `DL’ variant of PSLV which is equipped with two solid strap on boosters.”
“February 28, launch of PSLV-C51/Amazonia-1 mission is the first dedicated PSLV commercial mission for NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). This is a Government of India Company and is under the Department of Space. NSIL is undertaking this mission under a commercial arrangement with Spaceflight Inc, USA.”
The PSLV-C51 will also be launching the country’s first commercial private remote-sensing satellite (Anand).
India-Brazil Space Cooperation
In the early 2000s, India and Brazil had an agreement in place at the Government to Government level. It was under this agreement Brazil started receiving data from Resourcesat-1 satellite of India from October 2009 to September 2013. And, since October 2014 has been receiving data from Resourcesat-2.
In 2014 on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, the two inked an agreement to set up a Brazilian earth station to receive data from the Indian satellites. And for operating the station and gathering data through remote sensing, ISRO has been training scientists at its facility.
And, India gets tracking support from ground stations located Alcantara and Cuiaba, in Brazil on commercial basis — for Indian satellites and other space programmes which include Chandrayaan-I, Megha Tropiques, MOM, and ASTROSAT.
Importance of Amazonia-1 for Brazil
As reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the images are expected to help in not only observing but also monitoring the deforestation of the Amazon Region. The launch on Sunday is more critical as after the fires in the Amazon Region, the images will help in the agricultural and vegetation areas too.
More about the Brazilian Satellite
It has been designed and tested in Brazil and is going to be the first satellite for Earth Observation.
It is not hitch-hiking rather it is the primary payload.
It comes with 14,000 electrical connections and 6 km of wires.
The Amazonia 1 satellite is the third Brazilian remote sensing satellite and is going to be operational along with CBERS-4 and CBERS-4A.
It is a synchronous (polar) Sun orbit satellite.
Images of the planet will be generated every 5 days.
There is a wide-view optical imager — with three frequency bands in the VIS visible spectrum, with a band located near the Near Infrared or NIR infrared.
These cameras have the capability of observing a range of approximately 850 km and have a resolution of 64 meters.
According to diplomatic sources, the Amazonia series satellites have the capability of two independent modules — a Service Module, which is the Multi-mission Platform (PMM); and a Payload Module, which holds imaging cameras and equipment for recording and transmitting image data.
Who are the co-passengers?
‘Anand’ is built by Indian space startup, Pixxel; ‘Satish Dhawan’ which is built by Chennai-based Space Kidz India and ‘UNITYsat’ will be the co-passengers.
More about UNITYsat
Three satellites have been designed and built as a joint development by Jeppiaar Institute of Technology, Sriperumbudur (JITsat), GH Raisoni College of Engineering, Nagpur (GHRCEsat) and Sri Shakthi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Coimbatore (Sri Shakthi Sat) and are part of UNITYsat.
Space Cooperation with countries in LAC Region
Several countries from the region have been in touch with Indian Space Agency seeking cooperation in Space at different levels. Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Colombia, are among some of the countries who already have a Space Cooperation with ISRO.
And countries like Costa Rica and Paraguay are looking forward to establishing cooperation with ISRO.