20 | JUL | 2019
Mexican nanosatellite evaluated by NASA for space mission
This June 4, 2015 photo shows the Cupola, a 360 degree observation area and remote control location for grappling, docking and undocking spacecraft on the International Space Station - Scott Kelly/NASA

Mexican nanosatellite evaluated by NASA for space mission

Mexico City
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The Mexican nanosatellite AzTechSat-1 was developed by students and academics from the UPAEP

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) evaluated the AzTechSat-1 nanosatellite design stage, built by academics and students from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP).

This nanosatellite will become the first Mexican mission carried out in collaboration with NASA and the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), and the second space mission created by Mexican university students.

The project, which emerged five years ago, is the result of a collaboration agreement to put the nanosatellite into orbit and connect it to the Globalstar constellation.

According to the information agency of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), the purpose of this project is to obtain information without the need to establish land bases.

In Mexico, several space projects have been developed in universities through the years: in 1996, Mexico made the successful launch of UNAMSAT-B, a satellite developed by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). The device operated for three months and was developed by both students and teachers, although NASA did not participate.

The evaluation of AzTechSat-1 was conducted recently and Andrés Martínez, executive of Advanced Systems of Exploration of NASA, was satisfied with the work developed in the UPAEP.

He clarified that the design review (called Critical Design Review) of the nanosatellite is one of the most difficult stages to overcome because it encompasses 12 different areas, 10 of a technical nature and two related to its operating system.

As part of the results obtained, out of 12 aspects evaluated, nine were satisfactorily accredited and three more required further observation in the following months.

The project's scientific director, Héctor Simón Vargas Martínez, explained that the observations were related to the satellite’s software. He added that NASA had evaluated the functional aspects of the equipment at laboratory level.

He added that there were two more revisions left, representing the most important part of the evaluation: They involve tests of the nanosatellite in the NASA laboratories, where the mission will be tested, and the electronic part of the AzTechSat-1, designed from scratch in the UPAEP.

The NASA representative, Andrés Martínez, announced that they were already in talks with academics from UNAM and the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), for the joint development of space missions.


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