Chinese-Brazilian satellite CBERS 04A completes one year in orbit

This Sunday, the CBERS 04A satellite, developed in partnership with China, completed a year in orbit. Launched on December 20, 2019 from the Chinese base in Taiyuan, the CBERS 04A satellite is the sixth satellite of the CBERS Program ( China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite ; in Portuguese, Sino-Brazilian Earth Resources Satellite).

Throughout this first year of in-orbit operation, with a projected useful life of at least 5 years, the satellite has been providing daily remote sensing images from the national territory and other areas of the globe (using the on-board recorder) . In this first year of operation, the satellite has already distributed more than 300,000 images to government agencies, educational institutions and the private sector.

CBERS 04A is a world-class satellite, with three cameras on board, two Brazilian (MUX and WFI) and one Chinese (WPM). The multiplicity of sensors allows CBERS 04A to produce images capable of serving different applications, such as monitoring deforestation, fires, the level of reservoirs, natural disasters, agricultural expansion and the development of cities, among others. Each camera has a level of resolution capable of generating images in the necessary detail according to the application.

The WPM camera, with a spatial resolution of 2m in the panchromatic band and 8m in the multispectral bands, with a revisit of 31 days and an imaging range of 92km, is great for urban studies that require very detailed information.

The MUX camera has a spatial resolution of 20m, a 26-day revisit, an imaging range of 95km, four bands in the visible and near infrared, and produces high quality images, comparable to those produced by the best satellites in its class worldwide, being indicated for water, vegetation and agriculture studies.

The WFI camera, with a wide field of 684km, has a spatial resolution of 63m, revisits for 5 days, has good radiometric and geometric quality, and is used in applications such as the Deforestation Detection System in Real Time (DETER) and the Monitoring of the Deforestation of Brazilian Biomes by Satellite (PRODES), which provide support for the inspection and control of deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes.

A member of the International Charter Space and Major Disasters , a consortium of space agencies from various countries, INPE provides CBERS images, free of charge, for monitoring emergency situations caused by natural disasters worldwide.

Similar to what was already happening with the CBERS-4 images, many CBERS 04A images are being used by companies in the agricultural, forestry and mining sectors. For INPE, responsible for executing the CBERS Program in Brazil, the strong demand from the private sector demonstrates that satellite images add value to business, as a source of strategic information. It is noteworthy that in 2004 INPE adopted the free data policy through the CBERS program, having influenced similar decisions taken by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) and by ESA (European Space Agency), in 2007 and in 2009, for the Landsat and Sentinel programs, respectively.

The images are available to the public in the INPE catalog and can be accessed through .

The CBERS Program was born out of an unprecedented partnership between Brazil and China in the space technical-scientific sector, signed in 1988 and completed 30 years in July 2018. With it, Brazil entered the select group of countries that hold the data generation technology of remote sensing, so important in a country the size of Brazil.

The satellites with the characteristics of the CBERS family placed Brazil and China in the category of countries with the most used satellites worldwide, such as the United States (Landsat Program – currently Landsat-8 – from NASA / USGS), India (Resourcesat) and European Union (SENTINEL 2A and 2B satellites from the European Copernicus program). Its specifications reflect the technical compromise between spatial, spectral resolution and revisit cycle that serves most satellite applications worldwide.

The program is managed by AEB (Brazilian Space Agency) and CNSA (National Space Administration of China), with technical executors INPE and CAST (Chinese Academy of Space Technology).

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