Wednesday 16 June 2021

Dream Of First Costa Rican Satellite In Orbit Closer To Reality

The Costa Rican Techonlogical Institute made the announcement Wednesday that it had all the funding to start assembling the first Costa Rica satellite that will be launched next year from the International Space Station under an agreement signed with Japan.

Q COSTA RICA – The donations made by more than 800 people to the Proyecto Irazú (Irazú Project) has helped in the purchase of components for the first Costa Rican satellite.

The donations amounted to US$80,000 dollars, which added to the sponsorship of five private companies, each donating between US$30,000 and US$60,000, will make the dream of launching a Costa Rican satellite a reality.

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The sponsoring companies include: EY, Grupo Purdy Motor, Comunicación Corporativa Ketchum (CCK), Zona Franca Coyol and MOOG Medical.

The assembly of the Tico Cubesat (small, light and low cost) satellite, which aims to apply space technology to monitor climate change, which is expected to take about six months, is being done at a Coyol de Alajuela plant.

The frame of the Proyecto Irazú satellite, the first Costa Rican satellite that will be monitoring climate change from space. Photo Rafael Murillo, La Nacion

The launch of the satellite is scheduled for 2018 from the International Space Station (IEE), under an agreement signed with the Kyushu Technological Institute in Japan.

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On Wednesday, the Instituto Tecnológico de Costa Rica (ITCR) – Costa Rican Technological Institute- received the components from the Asociación Centroamericana de Aeronáutica y del Espacio (ACAE) – the Central American Aeronautics and Space Association.

Project manager Luis Diego Monge said that now begins one of the most complex and crucial stages of the project.

“Whenever we talk about technology, we tend to associate it with science fiction or former (Costa Rican) astronaut Franklin Chang. Now many Costa Ricans will see in the Irazú project that many things are possible and can be achieved.”

Monge said that through the cooperation of individuals, private companies and academia, the world is shown that Costa Rica is ready to assume a leading role.

The satellite components include an on-board Computer, communication system, power system, solar panels, a secondary computer, and the housing created by the  Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA) – Costa Rica’s National Institute of Learning.

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Monge explained that following the assembly, the satellite will be sent to the Space Station in Japan where it will be inspected and later put into orbit.

The representative of ACAE, Carolina Fernandez said that this is the result of seven years of hard work. “It is demonstrating to the world that Costa Rica has the talent with the technical level to participate in the value chain of the global aerospace industry”

This project has a cost that exceeds half a million dollars.



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