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PublishDate: Sunday, February 28, 202113:02

India launches Brazil satellite and 18 others into space

A Brazilian Earth observation satellite soared into space aboard an Indian rocket at about 4.30am local time along with 18 passenger satellites from the United States and India.

Afghan Voice Agency (AVA)_Space.com reported the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launch of the rocket took place at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.

An ISRO #Polar_Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carried Amazonia-1 and 18 smaller satellites into space.

“The satellite is in very good health,” ISRO Chairman K. Sivan said after the launch. “The solar panels have deployed and it is functioning very nicely.”

Amazonia-1 is optimized to focus on the cloud-covered region of the Amazon forest, since it has infrared capabilities that allow it to look at the forest cover regardless of the weather.

Brazil plans to use the satellite for “#alert_deforestation” in the region, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said in an Amazonia 1 mission description.

The satellite is also Brazil’s first independently designed, built and operated satellite, which country officials hailed after it reached orbit.

“This satellite has a very important mission for Brazil,” said Marcos Pontes, Brazil’s minister for science, technology and innovation, who is also the country’s first astronaut (he flew to the International Space Station in 2006). “It represents a new era of the Brazilian industry for satellite development in Brazil.”

Deforestation is an ongoing concern not only for the region’s unique flora and fauna, which are irreplaceable once extinct, but also for health outcomes of human residents. Back in August 2019, smoke from wildfires in the Amazon transformed São Paulo’s normal daylight hours into a smog-filled afternoon of darkness, amid a larger state of emergency in the Brazilian state of Amazonas.

The 18 other satellites include a mix of Indian and American craft. The #Indian-built_satellites include Satish Dhawan SAT, which studies radiation, space weather and communications, the UNITYsat trio, for radio relay, and a technology demonstrator satellite called SindhuNetra.

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