Science and technology: space policy, an Argentine strategic sector with regional prospects

“The presence of Konai as a space agency and the definition of the National Space Plan, with ten-year goals, allow us to work on developing Earth observation capabilities and outer space exploration,” says Raul Kolichevsky (Giovanni Sakito).

“The state’s definition of the space sector as a strategic area and the preservation of medium and long-term policies have enabled our country today to have a proper place in Latin America and the world.and that its capabilities are universally recognized”, The engineer says Raoul KolichovskyThe CEO and Technical Director of National Committee for Space Activities (CONAE).The SAOCOM (Argentine Microwave Observing Satellite) constellation, currently in service, and before that, its smaller siblings in the SAC (Scientific Applications Satellite) series are concrete examples of the work of this agency.

“Kunai’s existence as a space agency, the interaction that it has in terms of international cooperation and The definition of a national space plan, with ten-year objectives, allows us to work, in the medium term, on developing capabilities for Earth observation and exploration of outer space.”, outlines Kulichevsky, who considers continuity in the sector to be essential to progress in the realization of various projects. The agency, which turned twenty in 2021, is the heir to the National Committee for Space Research (CNIE), founded in 1960, which represents Argentina’s long history in this field.

“The state’s definition of the space sector as a strategic area made it possible for our country today to have a worthy place in Latin America and the world,” says Kolyshevsky. (courtesy of CONAE)

CONAE is a truly federal agency, with research, development and production centers in different parts of the country. When asked about their respective functions, his manager recalls that at the Teofilo Tabanera Space Center (CETT), located in Córdoba, developments related to propulsion and manufacturing are taking place. For its part, the Punta Indio Space Center (CEPI) specializes in the manufacture, integration, testing and launch of experimental vehicles. Meanwhile, the Tronador I and II spacecraft are being launched at the Manuel Belgrano Space Center (CEMB). Finally, near Tolhuen, there is the Tierra del Fuego ground station, which augments the capabilities of a similar facility located at CETT in Córdoba and which will soon be supplemented by the installation of two antennas at the Belgrano Antarctic base, closer to the South Pole that is in our country.

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Direction to the new space scheme

regarding New National Space Planthe Director of CONAE notes that the last details are being amended, before they are presented to the National Executive. “It will be the product of the wide participation of users of satellite information, enterprises from the scientific and technological sector, educational institutions, other ministries and private companies,” emphasizes Kulichevsky.

“The space plan will be the product of the broad participation of satellite information users, organizations in the scientific and technological sector, educational institutions, other ministries and private companies,” confirms CONAE Executive Director (Giovanni Sakito).

In this sense, The current Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Diego Hurtado, confirms: “This is the first time that the private space sector, which is experiencing full growth, has been included. Working collectively with state institutions and companies (CONAE, VENG, INVAP), An increasing number of small and medium-sized companies in the private sector allows us to make a paradigm shift in the field of aviation. ” Among the main private companies, it is worth noting the companies DTA, Innova Space, Satellitelogic, Tlon Space, LIA Aeroespace, Space Sur and Ascentio.

Hurtado points out that after a period of halting funding between 2016 and 2019, “the arc has been brought back kunai to align the space plan with the project of the country which puts science and technology at the forefront of its public policies.” In this sense, he defined the Creole Space Agency as “An architect who leads and maximizes synergies between universities, government technical institutions, public and private companies, as well as international collaborations with agencies from other countries.”

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Ambitious goal: launch vehicles

For the specific projects CONAE is working on, Kulichevsky is convinced that “owning our own launch vehicles is a very important step towards achieving national technological independence and mastering new technologies”. In this regard, he noted that “Experimental Vehicles (VEx) will be used to verify technological developments in areas such as propulsion, structures, navigation, guidance and control.”

The CONAE CEO explains that in all cases, propulsion will be based on liquid oxygen and kerosene (LOx/KER). Regarding the vehicles being developed, he notes that the Tronador II will allow us to put into orbit satellites or groups of satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms as a whole, in low orbits of 400-700 kilometers in height; The Tronador III has a capacity of 750 kg.

Kulichevsky is convinced that
Kulichevsky is convinced that “owning our own launch vehicles is a very important step towards achieving national technological independence and mastering new technologies” (courtesy of CONAE)

The path to the Latin American Space Agency

The objectives of the current authorities are not limited to strengthening the work of CONAE in our country, but indicate a common line of action at the regional level. take a successful model such as that of the European Space Agency (ESA), Progress is being made in Consolidation of the Space Agency in Latin America and the Caribbean (ALCE), with the encouragement of Argentina and Mexico in particular. Kulichevsky asserts that “it will be a super-master for the development of the capabilities of the space sectors of the countries of the region, strengthening the possibilities of cooperation and synergy between various national agencies.”

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“Reflecting on the morals that the pandemic has left us, the weakness of scientific and technological cooperation between the countries of the region has been highlighted,” he said. For his part, acknowledges Deputy Minister Diego Hurtado, who served as CONAE Vice President for two years. “The search for integration in a strategic sector is a very important step,” he continues, while considering the inclusion of the Argentine space sector in a project with a regional scope.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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