Seattle-based Spaceflight says it’s struck one of its biggest deals for a satellite launch with Brazil’s space research institute, focusing on putting the Amazonia-1 satellite into low Earth orbit in mid-2020.
The contract was awarded on Tuesday during a ceremony in São José dos Campos, attended by Brazilian space officials as well as Melissa Wuerl, Spaceflight’s vice president of business development.
Amazonia-1 is designed to make observations of Brazilian territory, with a special focus on the Amazon region, for the National Institute for Space Research, known in Portuguese as the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE.
It’s the first Earth observation satellite to be completely designed, integrated, tested and operated by Brazil.
With a mass of about 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds), Amazonia-1 will also be the largest single spacecraft to be launched with Spaceflight’s logistical assistance, and the primary payload on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, or PSLV.
The satellite will be put into a nearly pole-to-pole orbit with a mean altitude of 760 kilometers (472 miles). Secondary rideshare payloads will be deployed at a lower altitude, Spaceflight said.
Spaceflight is the launch services subsidiary of Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries. It arranged for the launch of several secondary payloads aboard a PSLV rocket last month. And this month, it rounded up 64 satellites for launch aboard a dedicated SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
Other launch vehicles on Spaceflight’s menu include Northrop Grumman’s Antares, Rocket Lab’s Electron and Arianespace’s Vega.
“We excel at complex launch missions like this, and it’s an honor to take INPE’s first Amazonia satellite to space,” Wuerl said in a news release. “Our goal continues to be to provide the most rideshare options for customers to get their spacecraft into orbit — which ultimately benefits everyone on board.”
Throughout the competitive procurement process for the Amazonia-1 launch contract, Spaceflight was supported in Brazil by a representative of the Akaer Group, a technology solutions company headquartered in São José dos Campos.
Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.