​Brazil and China launch new satellite

Equipment reaches orbit successfully one year after launch failure.

Brazil and China have successfully launched their latest joint satellite yesterday, one year after the previous equipment got lost in space.

At a cost of R$160mi ($61mi), satellite Cbers-4 was developed under the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite program and features four extra-high resolution cameras that are intended to help preserve areas such as the Amazon rainforest by identifying possible illegal fires and devastation areas.

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Launched on Sunday (7) from Taiyuan in northeast China after five hours of tests, the satellite launch was considered successful when it reached the altitude of 778 kilometers - the distance needed for the equipment to get into orbit and for the opening of its solar panels, essential for the maintenance of the equipment's battery life.

This follows the two countries' previous attempt to launch observation satellite Cbers-3, which failed due a malfunction of the launch vehicle that prevented the equipment from being positioned in orbit.

Cbers-4 has a lifespan of approximately three years. It has the same specifications as its predecessor, apart from some improvements in the cameras. Another new feature is MUX, a satellite camera entirely developed and made in Brazil.

In addition to Cbers-4, four other satellites have been launched under the Brazil-China Satellite Program. The first three, with Brazilian participation in project financing limited to 30 percent, were launched in 1999, 2003 and 2007.

The governments decided to extend the initial agreement in 2002 and Brazil increased its participation to 50 percent. This "second generation" of the joint program started with Cbers-3, the satellite lost in space, followed by the equipment successfully launched yesterday.


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