Mexico City, Sep 14 (efe-epa).- A researcher with the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Jose Alberto Ramirez Aguilar, will participate in the first crewed space mission mounted by Latin America, a suborbital flight that will spend 10 minutes in space, the institution announced on Monday.
“To have been selected is an honor and an enormous responsibility, and it’s the result of many years of effort to foster these activities in Mexico (since) the defunct University Program for Space Research and Development during the 1990s,” Ramirez Aguilar said in a statement.
The mission is known as ESAA-01 EX SOMINUS AD ASTRA and which is a part of the LATCOSMOS-C space program.
A suborbital flight like this mission is fired ballistically and will cross the so-called Karman line, that is the limit between the Earth’s atmosphere and outer space, and then the capsule will descend almost immediately back to Earth.
In this case, when the capsule is 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) high, it will separate from its booster rocket and continue on its trajectory for about 105 km (65 mi.). Then it will begin to descend and reenter the atmosphere at hypersonic speed. When it gets through reentry and nears the Earth’s surface once again, parachutes will deploy to slow the capsule and it will land.
The trip will put the crew into outer space for about 10 minutes, during which time they will conduct a series of experiments on microgravity, which will be proposed by the countries of origin of the crewmembers. Programs will be launched in the various countries so that members of the public and members of their scientific communities can suggest experiments to be carried out during the mission.
To train for the mission, Ramirez Aguilar will have to take part in the ASA/T (Advanced Suborbital Astronaut Training Program), which has been developed in conjunction with the Ecuadorian Space Agency, which is financing the project, and the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center.
The mission, the date for which has not yet been set due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be commanded by Ecuador’s Ronnie Nader Bello, who emphasized that his fellow crewmembers have been selected “very carefully.”
Also participating in the mission will be Costa Rica’s Adolfo Chaves Jimenez and Margot Solberg, from the United States.
“This is a crew of teachers, which speaks to the importance of the Space Development Plan for the Latin American and Caribbean Regions – LATCOSMOS-C – in the education and motivation of young people, since without them there is no future,” Nader Bello said regarding his fellow crewmembers.
The mission commander said that putting this mission together and accomplishing it will be “a small victory,” since it will show that “there are people and institutions in Latin America that are capable of carrying out big projects.”