Ecuador in Space
The history of the relationship between Ecuador and outer space can be summarized with the following historical facts. In August 1957, the Government of the United States, through the National Agency for Aeronautics and Space NASA, installed on the slopes of Cotopaxi Volcano, the Satellite Tracking Station, Track Mini called for the purpose of monitor and control the orbit of American satellites.
The December 7, 1977, was created the Center for Integrated Natural Resources Remote Sensing, CLIRSEN, as public law body with legal personality and technical and administrative autonomy, with the ultimate goal of forming the inventory of natural resources nationally and generate information to enable the use, management and conservation thereof. From The July 30, 1982, mandated by the Ecuadorian Government, CLIRS. In 1989, the station in receiving, processing recorder and satellite data was transformed, allowing the CLIRSEN have directly with the information needed for studies and projects related to natural resources and the environment.
The Ecuadorian Space Institute generates national space technology capabilities through: basic and applied research; and, the development of technology prototypes, obtaining as final result the construction of spacecraft; through coordinated synergy between national players that make the Ecuadorian State, to achieve a true state of Good Living. Thus, the Institute must promote space science research with public and private entities, academia and aerospace any initiative related to development, thus develops different institutional projects.
Ecuador, since the creation of ex CLIRSEN (Now IEE Ecuadorian Space Institute) in 1977, has had relations in the field of earth observation by the reception capacity of information from weather and earth resouces satellites. The Cotopaxi Station began operations in 1958 as an agency NASA for observation and monitoring the course of satellites and space vehicles. As part of NASA's "Minitrack" network of 19 ground stations worldwide, the Cotopaxi Station participated in the Apollo-Soyus Mission in 1975 and the second flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. Over 200 Ecuadorian contract employees worked at the station in shifts operating 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
NASA handed over the station (worth over $10 million in today's dollars) to the Ecuadorian government in 1982, and since then CLIRSEN has gathered satellite data there to produce over 1500 maps used to aid planning and development in the areas of agriculture, aquaculture, environment, health and disaster preparedness. After it was transferred the government of Ecuador to be administered by the CLIRSEN, this station was modernized to receive and process real-time information from satellites US Landsat 4, 5 and 6; French SPOT 1 and 2 and European radar satellite ERS 1, with a coverage radius of approximately 2,500 km.
With Executive Decree No. 1246 dated 19 July 2012, the Ecuadorian Space Institute was created as a part of the Ministry of Defense entity, directed and administered by the Ecuadorian Air Force, with the in order to continue with the activities that developed the CLIRSEN (Earth Observation) and assigning new responsibilities scientific research space close to Earth and outer space and development with aerospace technology. To meet the first object, the modernized Cotopaxi Station allows capture information satellites that are forming constellations, with technology high spatial and spectral resolution as they are satellites: Pleyades, Ikonos, Quik Bird, Rapid Eye, Spot 6 Deimos among others, which provide information of the earth's surface with very high detail.
The defense sector had a high preponderance of power for information for their own satellite, where the armed forces play a fundamental role. In the case of the Air Force, it required to have high spatial resolution images and time to have information for use by intelligence that allows lifting interest and threat analysis. By the Navy, satellite data are used in verification of needs for control activities maritime area, monitoring oil spills, tides, dynamic analysis gulfs, shorelines, port infrastructure, marine reserves among others. As regards Ground Force, it has the interest of this type of information control and monitoring of borders, illegal activities, etc
The Ecuadorian Air Force announced 6 October 2011 that an aerospace research and monitoring center was being developed on the island of Baltra, Galápagos province, in collaboration with other defence bodies and in partnership with national and international universities. The centre has the following objectives:
- To conduct research on space debris;
- To monitor near-Earth objects;
- To research and monitor atmospheric and space weather.
The Ecuadorian Air Force reported that the project is in its initial phase and was expected to be operational by the third quarter of 2014.
EXA is the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Agency, founded on 1 November 2007 in Guayaquil, Ecuador as a civilian independent organism in charge of the administration and execution of the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Programme, conduct scientific research on planetary and space sciences and to push forward de development of science in the educational system in the country.
EXA is the first space agency in the history of Ecuador, it has its own astronaut, the ASA/T Ronnie Nader, who is the Director of the Space Operations Division and is also the Honorary Chairman of the Directorate Board of EXA. His state of service is active, his position is of Mission Specialist and his function is Mission Commander. EXA is backed up by the Ecuadorian State through the Ecuadorian Air Force with whom EXA maintains a close relationship, not only of work for the benefit of Ecuador, but also of mutual respect and friendship.
In less than a year of existence, EXA has achieved key goals and historical milestones for Ecuador: The first Latin-American microgravity plane, developed with its own science and technology alongside the Ecuadorian Air Force, the Guinness World Record for the youngest human being ever to fly in microgravity, the RIM-G, a system allowing almost any person to fly microgravity without being sick, opening the door for thousands of Ecuadorians to the marvels of 0G and to a new set of research opportunities.
EXA jointly operates with the Ecuadorian Air Force the Ecuadorian Micro Gravity flight Program EXA manages and executes the Ecuadorian Civilian Space Program planned initially for 10 years of duration and 3 phases of manned and unmanned space flights, including the first Ecuadorian astronaut in space, the first Ecuadorian satellite and a manned landing in the moon.
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