Many posts on this thread display a lot of ignorance of what a properly focused space program can do, even for poor countries. I can't speak for Brazil, but let me give you an idea what India's space program is capable of and why it is useful, and why *I* believe its worth the $450 million we spend annually on it:
India has the capability to design and build telecommunications, meteorological and remote sensing satellites on its own, and to launch all but the biggest ones on our own heavy lifters, the PSLV and GSLV, which are roughly in the class of the Delta-II rockets the US has, i.e. capable of sending 1-2.5 ton payloads into GTO, or 5 ton payloads into sun-synchronous orbits. In addition to our own satellites, these launchers have also sent German, Belgian and Korean satellites into orbit.
Now onto why its useful - in India's case, the INSAT telecommunications satellites bring telephone connectivity to farflung rural areas, enabling farmers to remain in touch with wholesale buyers in the towns & cities. Transponders on these satellites are also rented out to private broadcasters cashing in on the growing TV
-viewership, earning us millions in rental fees and easily covering the low developmental costs.
India builds some of the best commercial remote sensing satellites in the world - the IRS-series sats with a 1-metre resolution, whose data enables agricultural & geological agencies to determine which regions of the country are suitable for farming, or mining of minerals, in addition to assisting fishermen and meteorologists.
Data of this sort is a HUGE 'force multiplier' for a country like India that needs every little bit of it to harness its resources to feed its large population. The same probably applies to Brazil. Having spent my undergraduate years in a university very closely tied to the space program, I (briefly) had a chance to see first hand the kind of data these satellites generate, and how helpful it is.
Further, the spinoffs from the effort help develop a robust domestic scientific and industrial capabillity that can assist the country's economic growth. Finally, as in the case of IT
and software, we earn money from this, whether its by launching others' satellites, building it and launching it for them, selling transponders on our own satellites, or selling high-resolution photographs and remote sensing data.