A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took off this Monday at 16:30 (EDT) from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with the first Central American satellite on board. This is the so-called Irazu project, named after a Costa Rican volcano.
The first Central American satellite, Irazu
Irazu is a small device that was designed with the intention of developing capabilities and inspiring new generations of scientists from the region to get involved in the space race, according to Carlos Alvarado, the president of the Central American Association of Aeronautics and Technology.
The satellite aims to transmit data on environmental variables from remote protected areas of Costa Rica to a data visualization center on the land, explains Julio Calvo, from the Technological Institute of Costa Rica, the technical entity that assembled the device.
These measurements could be used for further scientific studies or to complement research that is already underway. The first Central American satellite will observe the forests of Central America and will offer valuable information on how much carbon a forest is capable of absorbing, information that, in conjunction with other data, is very valuable to know what countermeasure to take against the climate change.
Besides Irazu, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket also carried supplies for the ISS
“This satellite represents much more than a simple technical feat and will mark the entrance of the country to a field reserved exclusively to the most technologically advanced nations. With Irazu, Costa Rica enters the space race,” explains Luis Diego Monge, who has participated in the development of the satellite.
The Falcon 9 rocket which was launched this Monday will also deliver 2,6 tons of supplies to the International Space Station, including foods and technical equipment, and will remain docked to the ISS until Wednesday when it is scheduled to return to Earth.
In conclusion, the yesterday SpaceX Falcon 9 launch marked a world’s first as it deployed the first Central American satellite on the orbit, the Irazu satellite which has the mission to observe the forests in the Costa Rican area to send data on the basis of which the authorities will take countermeasures against climate change.