Brazil Current Affairs - 2020

ISRO to launch Brazil’s Amazonia-1 Satellite in August 2020

The first earth observation satellite to be entirely developed by Brazil will be launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The satellite is known by the name ‘Amazonia-1’. The exact launch date of Amazonia-1 hasn’t been confirmed yet by ISRO but as per media reports, the launch will take place next month (August 2020).

Background

On 25th January 2004, an agreement was signed for cooperation in the field of outer space between India and Brazil. As a part of the framework agreement, ISRO will be launching a micro-satellite of the Brazilian Space Agency (AEB). This microsatellite will be for atmospheric studies as per the agreement.

Amazonia-1

Amazonia-1 was originally scheduled to be launched by AEB’s main satellite launch vehicle VLS-1 in 2018. But the launch with VLS-1 was canceled due to technical reasons. Amazonia-1 will now be launched as a payload of PSLV from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh’s Sriharikota.

Operations of Amazonia-1 will be joint with the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite Program (CBERS).  Under the CBERS program between China and Brazil, 6 satellites have been launched to date (The first satellite CBERS-1 was launched back in October 1999). The last one CBERS-4A was launched on 20th December 2019 from China’s Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre.

Amazonia-1 is the first satellite that has been completely designed, integrated, and tested by AEB, also the satellite after launch will be the first satellite to be completely operated by Brazil.

Deforestation of Amazon Forest: Highest in 5 years

On June 12, 2020, the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) announced that the increase in deforestation of Amazon forests has been the highest in 2019 as compared to last 5 years.

Highlights

The research institute has found that the deforestation has increased by 91 square kilo metre in 2019 as compared to 2018. In 2019, around 829 square kilo metres of forest has been deforested.

Key Findings

The research institute also noted the witness of Brazilian Government on deforestation. According to Brazilian Government, amazon rainforest faced deforestation record of 829 square kilometre in May, 2020. This is the highest monthly level deforestation since 2015.

Also, the Real Time Deforestation Detection System has alerted the authorities about the increase in rate of destruction of tropical rainforest in the region.

If the deforestation pace continues, in 2020, the deforestation could reach 11,900 square kilometres.

Why the increase?

Deforestation in the region has increased after President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 according to conservation groups and environmental activists. According to Bolsonaro, mining and farming in the protected areas of Amazon forest were the only ways to lift the region out of poverty. His environmental policies have been widely condemned all over the world.

Also, the destruction of the forest by illegal ranchers and loggers increased by 55% between January 2020 and April 2020.