Costa Maya to be the next Mexican Cape Canaveral?
Costa Maya is situated in the Tulum – Chetumal Corridor
Jose Hernandez, Mexican American Astronaut, might be participating in a Mexican Space Center. Hernandez, whose parents are from Michoacan, and whose humble beginnings included picking fruit in California on weekends when there was no school, was selected by NASA as one of the crew members on the August-September 2010 Discovery mission.
He successfully completed and now is turning his sights to the development of technological education in Mexico. Hernandez is one of a team of engineers that is actively promoting a Mexican Space Agency project. The Space Center already has the green light from the legislative branch.
On April 20, 2010, with 208 votes, the Mexican congress approved a bill that creates the Mexican Space Agency, turning it over to the executive branch to be carried out.
The Mexican Space Agency (AEXA) is a public agency, independent from the Ministry of Communications and Transport (SCT), and will be responsible for designing and implementing space policy in Mexico, as well as space programs (both national and commercial), manned missions, satellite launch services, manufacturing capacity, development of new technologies, partnerships with universities and scientific institutions to promote research and education in science and technology, among others.
The Mexican Space Agency is a project created and promoted by Mr. Fernando De La Peña Llaca and the government of the state of Hidalgo; which in 2004, began negotiations with the federal executive branch.
On October 25th of 2005, the Mexican congress was presented with the initiative “Draft Decree Issuing the Act Establishing the Mexican Space Agency” by a Congressman for the state of Hidalgo, Moisés Jiménez Sánchez. The brief was referred to the Commission on Science and Technology, for review.
The minutes were sent to the senate on April 26, 2006. The next day it was referred to the Joint Commissions on Science and Technology and first Legislative Studies. On October 7, 2008, the budget commission approved the review of the matter as well.
A month later the Senate unanimously adopted the draft and a year later, 10 million pesos from the Federation’s 2010 budget, were approved by the budget commission for the Mexican Space Agency, that was likely to set up headquarters in the state of Hidalgo.
By April 20th of 2010, both the Mexican Congress and Senate had finally approved a bill that creates the agency.
One of the Mexican Space Agency’s goals is to invest in infrastructure for the future. How? Through international collaboration programs with other nations, allowing shared space programs with several participating countries, and technology sharing.
One of its main purposes is to create thousands of high technology skilled jobs, by linking the domestic industry, thus contributing to the scientific and economic development of Mexico, as well as preventing future “technological dependency” on other countries. It appears that the state of Quintana Roo has a shot at the Space Center.
Jaime Herrera Cortés, another promoter of the Mexican Space Agency, confirmed that the government of Quintana Roo is indeed in the stage of proposals and negotiations with AEXA for the establishment of an aerospace training facility and launching platform in its territory. The location in general would be in the southern coastal area by the state’s capital Chetumal, some 15-20 kilometers (9-12 miles) away from residential locations and will be built on about 30 hectares of land.
This facility would also cater to space tourism launches, an industry where five companies in the world are already participating. All under the wing of the neurological center in Hidalgo, that would be the “Houston” to the Quintana Roo launching platform, being akin to the Mexican “Cape Cañaveral”.
NASA astronauts José Hernández and John “Danny” Olivas, both of Mexican origin, are set to visit the states of Hidalgo and Quintana Roo in the month of October to promote the Mexican Space Agency. The agency is lobbying for the 2010 budget to increase from 10 to 40 million pesos (@ $3.3 million USD), and this is supposed to happen sometime this year. In the first three years the expected budget is 240 million pesos ($20 million USD).
But as Astronaut Jose Hernandez once said: “For every dollar invested, NASA recovers seven.” This may still seem like a small yearly budget, but the participation of countries like Russia, China, Brazil, and the USA in the investment for joint space programs definitely broadens the horizon.