Los Angeles, Jul 22 (EFE).- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez emphasized his country’s strength in aerospace technology during a visit Thursday to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the Los Angeles suburb of Pasadena.
Sanchez, who arrived in the United States late Tuesday on a trip with a pronounced emphasis on business and the economy, was accompanied to the JPL facility by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Spain’s minister of industry, tourism and trade, Reyes Maroto.
Deputy Director Larry James led the visitors on a tour that included a stop in the JPL control room, the nerve center of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission.
A score of Spanish engineers work at JPL and a number of the components of the Perseverance Rover that is currently exploring the Red Planet were made in Spain.
One of the three sites that make up JPL’s Deep Space Network is located near Madrid.
Sanchez took the opportunity to chat with some of the Spaniards on the JPL staff before heading to Los Angeles City Hall for a conversation with Garcetti, who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as the next US ambassador to India.
Next on the prime minister’s agenda was an event at UCLA to present plans for the opening of a seventh US branch of Spain’s Cervantes Institute in the Southern California metropolis.
Besides Sanchez, the speakers included UCLA professor Barbara Fuchs, recently named by the institute as the first recipient of its Ñ Prize, in recognition of her achievements disseminating Spanish language and culture.
The scholar, who is scheduled to travel to Spain in October to accept the prize from King Felipe VI, expressed gratitude to the institute for the honor.
Sanchez said that with the explosive growth of the Latino population, Spanish is no longer a foreign language in the US, but rather an inheritance that belongs to people on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Los Angeles branch will be the Cervantes Institute’s first outpost in California, the most populous US state, where 40 percent of residents have Hispanic heritage. EFE bb-romu/dr