National Institute for Space Research (INPE)
The National Institute for Space Research (Portuguese: Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) is a research unit of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, 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.
INPE emerged in the early 1960s, motivated by the expectations that were created around the first space achievements by the Soviet Union and the United States. In 1957, the Soviets launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik. A year later, it was time for the United States put the Explorer in Earth orbit. At the time, two engineering students of the Technological Institute of Aeronautics (ITA), Fernando de Mendonça and Julio Alberto de Morais Coutinho, in cooperation with the Naval Research Laboratory of the US Navy built a tracking station, with which managed capture the signals from the two satellites.
In 1960, the Brazilian Interplanetary Society (SIB) decided, during the Meeting of Space Research, proposing the creation of a civil institution of space research in the country, and sent a letter to then president, Janio Quadros, suggesting such an initiative.