07/29/2016 11h00

Innovative and cheaper mini-satellite that reduces space debris is introduced at the Regional Leaders

Vice Governor, Márcio França, suggests partnership between the University of Würzburg and the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) to encourage the innovation that will include less developed regions

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“It is a revolution that can be at the service of companies and countries at a much lower cost,” said Márcio França.

A 1.3kg mini-satellite, smaller than a shoe box, developed by the University of Würzburg, Germany, will revolutionize research and data transmission systems across the planet Earth. For being a lot cheaper, it can be used both by companies and countries. The innovation was introduced by Professor Klaus Shilling during the 8th Regional Leaders’ Summit, in Munich (Germany), to the delegations from São Paulo (Brazil); Bavaria (Germany); Upper Austria (Austria); Georgia (USA); Shandong (China); Western Cape (South Africa) and Quebec (Canada).

The mini-satellite orbits at a distance of 600 km from Earth, unlike conventional satellites, which are 35 km high. Because of its small size, the launch of the satellite is a lot cheaper cost, and when it returns to Earth, it reduces space debris and the risk of accidents, said Professor José Sérgio Almeida, of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in São José dos Campos, who has been testing a similar technology and is interested in participating in the project. The program estimates the launch of seven mini-satellites, at the cost of 1 million euros, which will fulfill the task of transmitting information to all continents, allowing less developed regions to have access to this type of technology.

The innovation wowed the participants of the event, including the vice-governor of São Paulo and secretary of Economic Development, Science, Technology and Innovation, Márcio França: “The innovation also has the merit of involving high school students from various countries, such as the young Brazilians Mariana Fonseca da Silva and Lucas Felipe Santos Kroeff,” he said.

Márcio França, who represented the governor Geraldo Alckmin in the event, handled the mini-satellite, capable of traveling around the planet in one hour and forty minutes. “It is a revolution that can be at the service of companies and countries at a much lower cost,” he said.

While a conventional satellite remains in orbit for dozens and even hundreds of years after being useless – and there are over 4,000 in this situation – the mini-satellite comes back to the planet in less than 25 years. For having cheaper components that follow the worldwide trend of miniaturization the mini-satellite can be produced even in academic environments. “This allows testing and qualifying new technologies at a much lower cost,” said Professor Sergio Almeida, noting that the space institute operates one of its kind in a research that evaluates a phenomenon called magnetic anomaly in the South Atlantic, which interferes with the communication of commercial flights.

Another advantage is the fact that it can be used for various purposes, since it is very versatile in terms of adaptation to the so-called payloads, said the Professor, excited by the possibility of testing the innovation in the Institute’s laboratories. For that, he will demand support from São Paulo Research Foundation (Fapesp).

Prof. Klaus Shilling, from the University of Wüzburg, came to the event to ask the subnational states represented at the event and the private sector to help expand the project’s funding. Prof. José Sérgio de Almeida, of INPE, said that an experimental mini-satellite has already been put into orbit with the mission of investigating a turbulence phenomenon affecting aviation in the Southern Hemisphere. “Today, the mini-satellite is capable of remaining two to three years around the Earth. But with research, this time can be extended. And its use can be as diverse as possible,” he said.

At the end of the presentation, Márcio França urged the participating states to support this innovation and met the group of 20 students from the countries present at the summit who are involved in the project.
The 8th edition of the Regional Leaders’, which took place on July 14 and 15, focused on the topic “Digitalization and Innovation.”

Investment attraction
During the opening of the event, Márcio França entered into a Memorandum of Understanding through Investe São Paulo, the investment promotion agency associated with the Department of Economic Development, Science, Technology and Innovation, and Invest in Bavaria, German counterpart. The intention is to strengthen the economic relations between the states of São Paulo and Bavaria in order to attract investments and create jobs, benefiting the two states. The president of Investe São Paulo, Juan Quirós, also signed the document and emphasized that Bavaria and São Paulo have a huge field to establish future partnerships in the areas of innovation and in the automotive, health and environmental sectors, among others.