Line drawing of the CBERS/ZY-1 spacecraft
|Country of origin||China / Brazil|
|Operator||CNSA / INPE|
|Design life||2-3 years|
14 October 1999
20 December 2019
The basis for the space cooperation between China and Brazil was established in May 1984, when both countries signed a complementary agreement to the cooperation framework agreement in science and technology. In July 1988, China and Brazil signed the protocol establishing the joint research and production of the China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellites (CBERS). Brazil, emerging from a long military regime, sought to abandon the Cold War logic and establish new international partnerships. China was dedicated to its great internal reform, but was also seeking international partnerships to develop advanced technologies. The agreement was advantageous for both countries. Brazil had the chance to develop medium-size satellites at a time when it was only capable of building small ones (100 kg size). China had an international partner that posed no military threats and that was receptive of foreigners.
Brazil and China negotiated the CBERS project during two years (1986-1988), exchanging important technical information and visiting each other's facilities, and they concluded that both sides had all the human, technical and material conditions to jointly develop an Earth resource observation satellite program. The Complementary Protocol on Cooperation on Space Technology was renewed in 1994 and again in 2004.
In Brazil, the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE or National Institute for Space Research) and the Brazilian Space Agency (Portuguese: Agência Espacial Brasileira; AEB) are involved with the program, as is the Brazilian industrial sector. In China, organizations involved include the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) (a sub-entity of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation) (CASC), the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and various other organizations.
Initially the program included development and deployment of two satellites, CBERS-1 and CBERS-2. A third satellite of the same type, which was named CBERS-2B, was later added to the program. Subsequently, agreement was reached to build and launch three additional satellites, CBERS-3, 4 and 4A.
The first satellite of the series, CBERS-1, was successfully launched on 14 October 1999 on a Long March 4B. In China, it is sometimes also called ZY 1. It remained functional until August 2003.
CBERS-1 and 2 are almost identical satellites. They have three remote sensing multispectral cameras:
CBERS-2B was launched on 19 September 2007 by a Long-March 4B rocket from the Taiyuan base in China. The satellite operated until June 2010. Sample images from CBERS-2B were made available on January 10, 2007.
CBERS-2B is similar to the two previous members of the series, but a new camera was added to this last satellite: High Resolution Panchromatic Camera (HRC). This camera records images in one single panchromatic band 0.50 - 0.80 ?m which comprises part of the visible and of the near infrared portion of electromagnetic spectrum. The images recorded by this camera are 27 km width and have 2.7 m spatial resolution. 130 days are required to obtain a full coverage of the Earth by this camera.
CBERS-3 was launched in December 2013, but it was lost after the Chang Zheng 4B rocket carrying it malfunctioned. The identical CBERS-4 satellite was successfully launched in December 2014. Both satellites carry four cameras: