Thursday 29 September 2022

Irazú Project: The First Satellite Made in Costa Rica

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29 September 2022 - At The Banks - BCCR

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(QCOSTARICA) The Central American Aeronautics and Space Association, or ACAE, has kicked off a campaign to collect the US$75,000 needed to launch the first satellite made in the region.

The ACAE said the fund-raising campaign began Thursday on the Kickstarter and will continue for a month, with the goal of financing the launch into space next year of a diminutive cube-shaped satellite measuring 10 centimeters (4 inches) on each side.

Known as “Project Irazu,” the operation centers around a nanosatellite that weighs around 1 kilo (2¼ lbs.), whose mission is to monitor climate change by gathering data on woodland growth along with environmental and carbon variables from the tropical forests of Costa Rica. Irazú will address two of the country’s needs: the measurement of environmental variables and the development of a space project. The former is essential to Costa Rica since 53% of its area is covered by rainforest and the country places high priority on forest conservation

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Irazu’s mission is to develop a full life cycle space engineering project using CubeSat technology as a proof of concept of a communication platform able to transmit environmental variables measured from remote protected areas in Costa Rica’s territory to a data visualization center for climate change research.

Besides the satellite, the project will have a remote station at Los Chiles, in Costa Rica’s northern zone, which is the woodland area from which data on forest growth and carbon capture will be collected.

Another component will be a station located at the headquarters of the Tecnológico de Costa Rica (TEC) – Costa Rica Institute of Technology, the centre of operations where data will be received for analysis and processing by scientists and researchers.

According to the experts, these satellites are the new wave of scientific development. They are also inexpensive, which allows developing countries to have their own satellites.

The project forges a cooperative effort of the public, private and academic spheres, including the TEC, the Ministry of Science and Technology (MICIT), the National Forestry Finance Fund, as well as the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology (TU Delft).

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With 28 days to go, the project has raised US$15.256 from 135 backers.

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