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Earth Observation

The Brazilian Amazon sustains about 40% of the world's remaining tropical rainforests and plays vital roles in maintaining biodiversity, regional hydrology and climate, and terrestrial carbon storage. Recent studies suggest that deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon could increase sharply in the future as a result of over US$40 billion in planned investments in highway paving and major new infrastructure projects in the region. These studies have been challenged by several Brazilian ministries, which assert that recent improvements in environmental laws, enforcement and public attitudes have fundamentally reduced the threat posed to forests by such projects.

Among tropical nations, Brazil probably has the world's best monitoring of deforestation activity. Estimates are produced by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) for the entire Brazilian Legal Amazon by visually interpreting satellite imagery from the Landsat Thematic Mapper.

Since the inception of its space activities 40 years ago, Brazil has been firmly motivated by peaceful purposes and has oriented its initiatives towards applications that meet society’s needs and demands. Involvement in space activities is crucial to Brazil because of the geographical characteristics of the country, which include the impressive extent of its territory and coastline, its huge Amazonian forest and the large expanses of scarcely populated areas, and the diversity of its climate. In particular, applications in the field of satellite remote sensing have proved to be of great usefulness to the country. The Brazilian space program has chosen, from the beginning, to invest in data-collection satellites, which since the 1990s have gained popularity worldwide for their very low cost-benefit rate.

The relevance of the CBERS program does not limit itself only to applications of the satellite-generated images. The program also takes part in the Space Activities National Program (PNAE) which objective is to lead the country toward the autonomy of this technology so vital to our development. The INPE participation in this complex project accelerates the capability of the country in important space technologies, besides contributing to increase and modernize the national industry in the space sector and the infrastructure (laboratories and centers) dedicated to space projects. There has been participation of the national industry in all satellite subsystems on charge of Brazil.

Cooperation with China for spacecraft and LV development.

CBERS – China , Brazil Earth Resources Satellite – This program jointly developed between China and Brazil joint venture was signed into existence in 1986 and through 2000 had cost about $300 million. China by agreement with Brazil paid 70% of the cost while Brazil paid 30% of the programs total cost for the first generation series. Brazil was responsible for developing the CCD imaging system. The program remained inactive between 1986 and 1991 due to Brazils economic condition. ( Oct. 21, 2003 )

The CBERS 01 and 02 ERTS satellites carried three high resolution camera’s for environmental, agricultural, water pollution, water conservation, forestry, mineral resources, mapping, disaster response analysis and urban development studies. (N.Y. TIMES, 5-23-00 ) Launched from Taiyuan PRC on the Long March-4B. Initially two satellites were launched and are being followed by two more improved versions of these ERTS satellites. The first of the series 01 was launched Oct. 14, 1999 and was followed in Sept. 1, 2003 , by the 02 satellite in the series. The 1,550 kg satellite series 01 and 02 had a two year design service life that has been exceeded by several years. ( Oct. 21, 2003 )

The improved first generation CBERS - 02B spacecraft is expected to be launched in 2006 to replace the 02 spacecraft.

The second generation series CBERS-03 and 04 were announced in October 2004, are expected to be launched between 2007 and 2010. (Spacedaily Oct. 18, 2004 )

China and Brazil have also collaborated in other areas of satellite technology,

Satellite components and satellite application services which is being coordinated through the trans-departmental organization apparently named South-South Corporation. ( Ministry of Foreign Affaires of the People’s Republic of China , 2004/11/15)

It need to be remembered that based on the US government policy there can be no instruments from US manufactures placed on Chinese Rockets or satellite payloads since China has not signed or enforced the MTCR among several other required agreements unsigned and un-enforced.

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