Brazil's first self-developed satellite will keep an eye on the rain forests

Much of Brazil is packed full of dense rain forests that are critical to our planet's environment. Many feel like the clearing of the Amazonian rain forests are a detriment to the entire world, and efforts are being made to protect them. Brazil is set to launch its first homemade satellite known as Amazonia-1, and the entire satellite was developed within the country.

Amazonia-1 is set to launch on Sunday, and if everything goes off without a hitch, Brazil will become one of roughly 20 countries that have been able to design, produce, launch, and operate a satellite. The satellite's mission is to give researchers frequent updates on deforestation and agricultural activity in the world's largest rain forest.

Amazonia-1 is seen as a milestone for Brazil, and development on the satellite begin back in 2008. Development of the satellite has involved more than a dozen Brazilian companies with a total investment of $60 million. While that's a significant amount of money, mission planners say it's about a sixth of what it would've cost to import a ready-to-use satellite from outside of Brazil.

Amazonia-1 is the first of three satellites meant to monitor the Amazon rain forests that Brazil's National Institute for Space Research intends to build. All of the future satellites will use the same manufacturing platform. The satellite is 2.5-meters-long and weighs 640 kilograms.

Inside its structure are six kilometers of cables and a trio of wide-angle cameras that can detect any area of deforestation bigger than four soccer fields. The satellite was initially planned to launch in 2018, but a lack of funding delayed components and the launch. Getting the satellite into orbit isn't guaranteed. Brazil has had a problematic history with satellite launches. Back in 2003, while attempting to launch a satellite, the rocket exploded, killing 21 people.