Brazil celebrates partnership with China and aims to project with Portugal

Brazil and China celebrate this year three decades of bilateral cooperation in the field of satellites and the director of the Brazilian Space Agency, José Raimundo Coelho, said he also had in view future projects with Portugal.

“Our relationship with Portugal in the space area has always been very much sought. Portugal, about three years ago, began to think seriously about developing a space program involving Europe, but it sought us (to Brazil) as well. this very good project, an opportunity to reciprocate the fact that the Portuguese discovered our country, “said José Raimundo Coelho.

The director of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB) said that this opportunity to partner with Portugal has already taken the first steps, with the creation of a space development center in the Azores. José Raimundo Coelho also said that at the moment, Portugal is “attending a public call” that the European Space Agency has launched, and hopes that Brazil can help in this project.

“This would be a way to start a space project with Portugal. If it does not happen in this way, Brazil will fight to make it happen in another way,” said the director of AEB, which has decided to have Portuguese descendants.

However, if relations between Brazil and Portugal in the space area are still starting, with China the connection is already well established, celebrating 30 years of collaboration.

The partnership, known as the Cbers Program (Sino-Brazilian Program for Terrestrial Resources), allowed the production of five Sino-Brazilian satellites [belonging to China and Brazil] of terrestrial resources.

The sixth remote sensing equipment, the Cbers-4A, is due to be launched next year in the Asian city of Taiyuan.

Coordinated by the Brazilian Space Agency and the National Space Administration of China, the program allowed the development of a complete remote sensing system (spatial and terrestrial) to provide free images to both countries and to more than 20 nations in South America, South Africa and Southeast Asia.

For José Raimundo Coelho, this long-lasting partnership could not have better results: “The results are exceptional. Brazilians and Chinese have already talked about the possibility of collaboration since 1984, but in another segment of the space area,” he said.

At the beginning, “the Chinese were already a little advanced compared to Brazil, but not very, and that was great, because if they were very advanced, this union of efforts and skills would not give the results that ended up giving,” said the director of AEB.

Over the last three decades, Cbers-1 (1999), Cbers-2 (2003) and Cbers-2B (2007) have been successfully launched. The Cbers-3 had a flaw that occurred at launch in December 2013. The Cbers-4 was launched in December 2014 and is still in operation.

The sixth satellite is undergoing testing and is jointly developed by the National Institute for Space Research and the Chinese Academy of Space Technology.

One of the most important points of the Cbers program is the distribution of images generated by satellites, covering the environmental and agricultural areas. The distribution of the images is free and, currently, more than 20 thousand Brazilian institutions have already received the material.

The Cbers-4A will ensure the continuity of imaging to monitor the environment through verification of deforestation and natural disasters, the expansion of agriculture and cities. The cost of this equipment is about 120 million reais (about 27 million euros) for each country.

However, the director of AEB ensures that the use of these images is transverse to any area.

“All people in the world may need to use these images, for example if you need to improve some infrastructure, the (Brazilian) government requires you to present satellite images. of satellite, “assured José Raimundo Coelho, assuring that the distribution of these images is completely free.

As Brazil is going through an unusual electoral period, the director of the Brazilian Space Agency has assumed that he hopes that the new President of the Brazilian Republic will support space development in the country.

“This is our constant hope that all governments will support and recognize the importance that this area has for the country.” This does not mean that this support has already occurred at the level it should have. he explained.

“We have tried to use examples from countries that attach importance to the spatial area in order to sensitize our government. Sometimes we do it, sometimes we do not,” he lamented.

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