Brazil has approved a Brazilian technology company’s contract to operate a small satellite orbiting the earth from Brazil that will transmit signals, tracking the deforestation of the Amazon and providing water and energy to impoverished communities.
Brazil’s development minister, Marcos Pereira, is slated to announce the partnership of Amazon’s SkySatellite, Inc. with Tesla Inc.’s SpaceX company at a news conference Wednesday in Brazil.
SkySAT, founded in 2003, is a Florida-based satellite company that has already launched over 18 satellites. The Internet provider will offer satellite video services in the Brazilian Amazon in a partnership with FCC, which builds, equips and operates telecommunications and data infrastructure around the world.
The Brazilian government hasn’t yet proposed a budget for a new satellite-based service, though the government says it will continue to study the possibility of a new satellite network in the future. The Brazilian Information and Communication Technology Agency has not discussed a possible space program, but the government is involved in a data-collection satellite project called VeGP-3, which will launch in 2024, along with a smaller communication satellite also under construction.
VeGP-3 will collect data in the absence of a satellite that would allow Brazil to monitor deforestation in the Amazon. Without a better network, Brazil has relied on satellite photos, helicopter and plane pictures.
The announcement marks Brazil’s first foray into satellite technology, which the government says is crucial to monitoring the country’s rural and urban areas.
SpaceX announced plans to start a commercial satellite business in 2015 to support the space company’s commercial and military missions. The company has announced plans to launch the first satellite into orbit later this year.
SkySAT estimates that the company’s network will enable broadcasters and officials to have better access to television, radio and internet information while helping companies in those remote areas.
The connection, the company says, will help improve food security in areas lacking access to efficient transportation and communications infrastructure.