Despite the Fact that Latin America has not Managed to Develop Space Programs as Fast as Other Countries, Today its Participation in these Issues is Increasingly Noticeable.
LatinAmerican Post | Julieta Gutiérrez
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The interest of human beings in the universe has always played an important role. Well, thanks to that attraction, a scientific thought has been developed, which has led to great events such as the Copernican Revolution, which consisted of changing the earth for the sun as the center of the universe.
Currently, space development has great benefits that contribute to the daily life of planet earth. According to the organization that promotes the development of entrepreneurs in the space sector in Latin America, called Space Latam, the interest in focusing on knowledge of outer space promotes international collaboration for peaceful purposes, enables communication between satellites, allows understanding and analyze climate change and improve crop creation.
Throughout history, various nations have explored the universe with multiple space projects. The United States and Russia were the pioneers with orbital spaceflight which they first developed during the Cold War. However, although currently, countries such as China, Japan or the European Space Agency (ESA) have a high focus on space exploration, little is known about the participation of Latin America. So, what is the development of the region in terms of space?
Main Latin American space powers
According to the report ´Space Programs in Latin America: History, Current Operations and Future Cooperation' issued by the United States Air Force (USAF), participation in space by the region began in the 1960s.
However, space projects in the Latin American continent have not developed at the same speed as other programs in the world. Well, several of the countries that make up this territory have been forced to face challenges in the search for space technology, since historically many of their governments have decided to invest in other priorities that are related to complex social, economic and political problems.
Although the progress of Latin America in space participation is slow, according to the USAF report, several Latin nations have shown great interest in space exploration and today have a great intervention.
Brazil is a Latin power in space matters. The South American giant has been interested in space programs since the 1960s. Its beginnings in these areas were in earth observation, telecommunications, rockets, meteorology and ground support.
To date, Brazilian space programs have developed their indigenous rockets and, according to the National Institute for Space Research of the Brazilian government, one of the main projects of the country's space program, the Sino-Brazilian Earth Resources Satellite (CBERS ), was developed to run first-class remote sensing systems. The latter gave great progress in the transmission of technology within international agreements.
The Satellite of the University of Chile for Aerospace Research (SUCHAI), is not the only great example in space technology. According to the USAF report, Chile, in collaboration with countries such as Australia, USA, South Korea and Brazil, is building a new class of large telescopes.
The Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), currently under construction, aims to revolutionize the way outer space is understood and viewed.
According to the USAF report, Peru's space program is headed by the National Commission for Aerospace Research and Development (CONIDA). This, despite the basics in its space program, has achieved important results.
The first Peruvian space probe, which was launched for the first time in 2006, contributed to the development of software programs that measure humidity, pressure and temperature in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
The space program in Colombia does not yet have much experience. According to the captain of the Colombian Air Force (FAC), Jonathan Urbina, in his article "The Space, Future of the Colombian Air Force"; In 2007, the first satellite called “Libertad 1” was launched into outer space, whose only function was to share information about its status.
Currently, the Colombian Air Force (FAC) is working on a project known as FAC-SAT. FACTSAT-1. It is a type of nano satellite design that has a cube-shaped structure that facilitates images, aiding in land restoration and urban development.
Mexico is also one of the first Latin countries to become interested in space science since the 1960s. As the USAF document mentions, the National Commission for Outer Space (CONEE) was founded in 1962. CONEE built some rockets that achieved an advance in investigations of the upper atmosphere.
The Mexican D2/AltaCom-1 nanosatellite was the last project launched from Cape Canaveral in June 2021. According to the official USAF report, this recent launch provided many young Mexicans with the opportunity of various possibilities, due to the fact that several students from some universities in the country were able to work on the project.
In addition, last year the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency was established, based in Mexico, also called ALCE. The purpose of this organization is to coordinate the space activities of the Latin and Caribbean countries.
According to the document issued by the UNAF, Argentina was the first Latin American country to found an organization for space flights and explorations. Currently, it has the National Commission for Space Activities (CONAE). This focuses on satellite missions based on the needs of the nation.
CONAE has created projects such as the Scientific Applications Satellite (SAC) in collaboration with NASA. A project that has four platforms with optical instruments that are dedicated to earth observation.