First Dominican satellite Why do we need a space agency?

The Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Aeronáutica y de la Aviación Civil (CESAC) announced that the Dominican Republic will have its own space agency, and the questions always arise, people do not understand why we need a space agency, or what function does an organization of this nature do?

A space agency is basically the face of the country in front of space and aerospace issues in the international community. In Latin America, countries such as Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia have their own space agencies. And the Dominican Republic does not want to be left out of the list.

Nuria Investigacion Periodista discussed the subject with the astronautical and space engineer, Edwin Sanchez.

The engineer informed that the main function of the satellite is to help in the detention of sargassum. “To be able to create an early warning system for the sargassum and to be able to inform those affected when and how much sargassum is going to arrive”.

Edwin Sanchez said: “the space agency is something that we have been promoting for a long time as civil society, and now we are involving the public part for its support and creation”.

He also explained that it consists of having a public entity that helps the legislative part and the part of creating the goals and objectives of how the Dominican Republic can get into this productive field.

Sanchez pointed out that “we still do not have a launching date, nor do we have a formal budget because we are in the process of creating this budget”.

The astronautical and space engineer informed that a space agency in the Dominican Republic would support projects such as the first Dominican satellite, which is an initiative of the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC), “I would support it by opening international doors to find the best launching option, to be able to carry out tests that still do not have the capacity in the country to be able to carry them out”.

Regarding the description of the satellite, he announced: “the satellite is very small, it is 10 centimeters by 10 cm by 10 cm, it is not the size of a baby, it is not worth 10 or 20 million dollars, the satellite project is currently costing at most half a million dollars”.

Within Latin America there have been similar efforts to launch satellites and observe algae, for example Guatemala in 2020 launched its own satellite with missions to identify algae in lakes, in Guatemala, there are other Asian countries for example that have also made their efforts in algae issues.

He also emphasized that the project involves both the public and private sectors, “it is a small mix because it is covered by the university but also by the MESCYT through an investment fund for science and technology”.

When asked if people can understand that the project is a whim, because it does not represent an urgent need?

The engineer answered “yes, of course, people usually see it that way and it is normal that they think that way because we really still have many needs to cover in the country, but this is still a need to cover in the country as well, the sargasso is something that is affecting us as a nation and directly affects tourism, the country’s main source of income”.

While the importance or not of the creation of a space agency is being defined in society, it should be noted that the Dominican Republic has always wanted to occupy an important place in the international community.

Since the tyranny of Trujillo when we had one of the best fleets of airplanes in the region and we were one of the points of reference for aeronautical maintenance and according to the opinion of the Space engineer Edwin Sanchez from that moment to date is the creation of this Space Agency, which could represent a breakthrough at these levels, from where projects such as the First Dominican Satellite, which is estimated to be ready for launch in a year and a half, will be supported.

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