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National Institute for Space Research

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Title: National Institute for Space Research  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: SABIA-Mar, Amazônia-1, CBERS-1, CBERS-2, CBERS-3
Collection: Aerospace Research Institutes, São José Dos Campos, Science and Technology in Brazil, Space Program of Brazil
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

National Institute for Space Research

National Institute for Space Research
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
Abbreviation INPE
Formation April 22, 1971
Legal status Active
Purpose space research
Headquarters São José dos Campos,
São Paulo, Brazil
Official language
Gilberto Câmara
Parent organization
Ministry of Science and Technology

The National Institute for Space Research (Portuguese: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) is a research unit of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, whose main goals are fostering scientific research and technological applications and qualifying personnel in the fields of space and atmospheric sciences, space engineering, and space technology. While INPE is the civilian research center for aerospace activities, the Brazilian Air Force's General Command for Aerospace Technology is the military arm. INPE is located in the city of São José dos Campos, São Paulo.


On August 3, 1961, President Jânio Quadros signed a decree which created the Organizing Group for the National Commission on Space Activities (COGNAE). This group would give rise to the current National Institute for Space Research.

COGNAE, which shortly after became known as CNAE, started its activities by stimulating, coordinating and supporting studies on space related areas, besides breeding a team of skilled researchers and establishing cooperation with leading nations on the space area.

Initially, the research program was developed through its laboratories in São José dos Campos — still the main campus today. The studies included ionosphere sounding in the upper atmosphere through devices placed on the ground and mainly through scientific rocket payloads launched from the Barreira do Inferno Launch Center, near Natal.

On April 22, 1971, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) was created, subordinated to the National Research Council (CNPq). Its first Director was the electronic engineer Fernando de Mendonça. INPE would be the main civilian executive organ for space research development in accordance with the directives of the Brazilian Commission for Space Activities (COBAE), an advisory organ to the President.

Until the mid-seventies, the main projects carried out by INPE included the usage of meteorological, communications and earth observation satellites. This engendered other projects such as:

INPE entered a new era when the Brazilian government approved the Complete Brazilian Space Mission (MECB) at the end of the 1970s. The institute, besides research and applications, started the development of the space technology for specific needs, essential for a country of continental dimensions with immense uninhabited areas.

On March 15, 1985, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MCT) was created and INPE became part of it as an independent organ of the Direct Administration.

During the 1980s, INPE started developing priority programs such as:

It also kept track of other countries' research on the space area, facilitating collaboration and partnership with them. During this period it also established its Integration and Tests Laboratory (LIT) which develops highly specialized activities essential to the Brazilian Space Program.

In the 1990s, the first Brazilian satellite (SCD-1) was launched.

Since 1994, the Brazilian Space Agency has been responsible for Brazil's space program. INPE works in close cooperation with the agency.

In 1998, the second Brazilian satellite (SCD-2) was successfully launched, performing even better than the first one. CBERS 1 was launched in 1999, CBERS 2 in 2003 and CBERS 2B in 2007.

See also

External links

  • Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE Official website
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