Monday 25 September 2023

Costa Rica to create aerospace agency like NASA, but in a small way

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RICO’s DIGEST – The first steps are being taken to create an aerospace agency in Costa Rica, something like NASA, but in a small way.

Costa Rican engineer Sandra Cauffman has worked for NASA for more than 30 years.

The initiative, Ley de Creación de la Agencia Espacial Costarricense (AEC) – the Costa Rican Space Agency Law – was approved in the first debate this Monday in the Legislative Assembly, is proposed by the Liberación legislator, Aida Montiel.

The idea is not that far-fetched, Costa Rica has the talent to create and run such an agency, such as, among the best known, NASA astronaut Franklin Chang and engineer Sandra Cauffman, who has worked for NASA for more than 30 years. Both are Costa Ricans.

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There is also Víctor Daniel Mora, Jonathan Kolbeck, Alex Mora, Alfredo Valverde, Fernando Zumbado, and other prominent Ticos in that spatial environment can also contribute a lot.

Legislator Montiel pointed out that the reasons why she proposed this initiative were “to take advantage of the country’s competitive advantages, such as its geographical location, the biological research that is generated, the level of education of engineers and scientists.”

In addition, she indicated that this project seeks “to create a non-state public entity with an initial investment that will allow achieving self-sufficiency in the short term.”

“The Agency intends to become an agent of the Costa Rican State to encourage the development of the aerospace area in Costa Rica. It is a scientific and technological entity, with eminently technical criteria,” she added.

For the legislator, the approval in the first debate of the Costa Rican Space Agency, “It may be an instrument for the promotion of scientific and technological vocations in girls, boys and adolescents.”

“Today we greatly comply with the operation of the Space Agency, I will be satisfied as I have done my bit in building a dream that will be a reality for development and innovation in Costa Rica,” she concluded.

About the bill

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The bill presented would create a Space Center for research, innovation, and development to be located in Liberia, Guanacaste, due to the climatic and geographical conditions that this region has for the observation of outer space.

PLN legislator Aida Montiel is the proponent of the bill Ley de Creación de la Agencia Espacial Costarricense (AEC).

The Center would have complementary training services for international experts, temporary exhibitions, a museum that offers additional services to tourists visiting that region and that creates a productive chain and increases employment options in the area.

The AEC will be subject to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Telecommunications as the governing body in the area of ​​science and technology.

The Costa Rican Space Agency (AEC) will finance its operations with the following resources:

  • During the period of 5 years from the entry into force of this law, a contribution from the institutions of the Non-financial Public Sector excluding the Central Government, Local Governments, the Costa Rican Social Security Fund, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, the Universities Public and the National Technical University.
  • Own income resulting from the sale of the Agency’s portfolio of products and services.
  • The product of loans, donations, bequests, and other contributions made by natural, legal, public, private, national or foreign persons, in accordance with the laws that regulate the matter, with prior authorization from the Board of Directors.
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