National Institute for Space Research
|This article is outdated. (March 2013)|
|National Institute for Space Research
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais
|Formation||April 22, 1971|
|Headquarters||São José dos Campos, Brazil|
|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 shorty 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.
- MESA - reception and interpretation of meteorological satellite images;
- SERE - use of satellite remote sensing technique and aircraft earth resources monitoring
- SACI - that improved the educational system through broadcasting, using a geostationary communications satellite.
INPE entered a new era when the Brazilian government approved the Complete Brazilian Space Mission (MECB) at the end of 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:
- Complete Brazilian Space Mission (MECB),
- China-Brazil Earth Resources Satellite program (CBERS),
- Amazon Research Program (AMZ),
- Center for Weather Forecast and Climatic Studies (CPTEC).
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.
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. CBERS-3 is expected to be launched in 2009, CBERS-4 in 2011.
See also 
- Federal institutions of Brazil
- Brazilian Space Agency
- Brazilian General Command for Aerospace Technology (CTA)
- Aeronautics Technological Institute (ITA)
- Marcos Pontes, the first Brazilian astronaut
- Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais - INPE Official website