India deploys the Amazonia-1 Earth observation satellite from Brazil, as well as 18 other satellites, into space


Late Saturday (February 27), a Brazilian Earth observation spacecraft, together with eighteen passenger satellites from India and the United States, launched into space through an Indian rocket. ISRO (The Indian Space Research Organization) launched the Amazonia-1 satellite into the orbit from Satish Dhawan Space Centre situated in Sriharikota, India, at 11:54 p.m. EST Saturday. According to ISRO, Amazonia-1 as well as 18 smaller satellites were launched into orbit using a “DL” version of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) with two strap-on boosters. After the deployment, ISRO Chairman K. Sivan stated, “The satellite is very much in good health.” “The solar panels have been installed and are performing admirably.”

Since Amazonia-1 does have infrared capabilities, it can aim at the cloud-covered area of its namesake, Amazon forest, irrespective of the weather.  In an Amazonia 1 mission summary, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) stated that the satellite would be used to “warn deforestation” in the area. The spacecraft is also Brazil’s first self-designed, constructed, and operated satellite, which was praised by officials after it was launched into orbit. “This spacecraft has a very significant task for Brazil,” stated Marcos Pontes, the nation’s first astronaut as well as minister of science, technology, and innovation (he travelled to the International Space Station in the year 2006). “It heralds a new age in the growth of satellites in Brazil’s sector.”

Deforestation is a constant source of concern, not just for the region’s special fauna and flora, which are indispensable until extinct, but also for the human health outcomes. Smoke from the Amazon wildfires turned So Paulo’s usual daylight hours into the smog-filled afternoon of darkness in 2019 August, as part of a broader state of emergency in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. The remaining 18 satellites are a mixture of American and Indian craft. Satish Dhawan SAT (that also studies radiation, space weather, as well as communications), the UNITYsat trio (for the radio relay), as well as SindhuNetra, a technology demonstrator satellite, are among the Indian-built satellites.

Another technology demonstrator named SAI-1 NanoConnect-2 is among the American ones, as are 12 “SpaceBees” from Swarm Technologies, which are part of a broader constellation the company is developing in low Earth orbit. According to ISRO’s mission statistics, the PSLV deployment was the first of the year 2021 as well as the third flight of PSLV-DL version. In total, the PSLV has flown 53 times in various configurations.

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