September 06, 2018 - 13:30 ( Brasília )

Brazil, China celebrate 30-year-old satellite cooperation

In 2019, a new satellite will monitor deforestation and disasters

This Wednesday (Aug. 29), at the Chinese Embassy in Brasília, Chinese government officials met with Brazilian aerospace authorities to celebrate the 30th anniversary of satellite cooperation between the two countries. The partnership is known as the China–Brazil Earth Resources Satellite program (CBERS), and has enabled the production of five satellites. The sixth remote sensing equipment, CBERS-4A, is expected to be launched next year in Taiyuan, China.


Spearheaded by the Brazilian Space Agent (AEB) and by the China National Space Administration (CNSA), the initiative saw the development of a full-fledged remote sensing system, both on Earth and in space, for the supply of free footage to both countries and 20 other nations in South America, Southern Africa, and Southeast Asia.



AEB President José Raimundo Braga Coelho underlined the pioneering high-technology plans implemented jointly by the two emerging countries.


“All the efforts to expand the knowledge in strategic areas—like space—are valid. We had the need to develop Earth observation satellites. And we received this incredible invitation from the Chinese to join a collective effort,” he said.



“We selected an object of mutual interest and developed [the CBERS program] together,” Raimundo recounted.


Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang described the 30 years of China–Brazil space cooperation as “a role model for cooperation.” “Joint development for technological innovation brings mutual benefits,” he added. CBERS deepens the ties between the two nations, he went on to say.


O embaixador da China no Brasil, Li Jinzhang, participa da comemoração do 30º Aniversário da Cooperação CBERS, na Embaixada da China, em Brasília.


Chinese Ambassador to Brazil Li Jinzhang described the 30 years of China–Brazil space cooperation as “a role model for cooperation.” - TV Brasil





The sixth satellite is in its testing stage, and is being developed in cooperation with Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (Inpe) and the China Academy of Space Technology (Cast). CBERS-4A will ensure the continued supply of footage for monitoring the environment by keeping track of deforestation and natural disasters, the growth of agriculture and urban centers, among other uses.



CBERS-1 (1999), CBERS-2 (2003), and CBERS-2B (2007) were successfully launched. CBERS-3 malfunctioned during its launch in December, 2013. CBERS-4 was launched in December, 2014, and is still operational.





A hallmark in the program is the distribution of satellite-generated footage on for both environmental and agricultural purposes, also benefiting the academic community. Thus far, over 20 thousand Brazilian institutions have received images free of charge.


The China–Brazil cooperation is just a part of China’s ambitious space program. In the next 20 years, China plans to send a man to the Moon and a probe to Mars. This probe is expected to return with a soil sample for analysis.

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