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Innovating in Mexico

Mexico consolidates nanosatellite development and implementation

In just 10 years, Querétaro's aerospace hub has exceeded 7 billion dollars in exports. At the same time, it is an industry that has generated more than 40,000 jobs. The development and implementation of nanosatellite technology go hand in hand with innovation as a driver of the educational offer.

In recent years, the Mexican state of Querétaro, strategically located in the central region of the country, has established itself as one of the most relevant and fastest-growing aerospace hubs in the world.

In just 10 years, the Querétaro aerospace hub has surpassed USD 7 billion in exports. Moreover, the industry has generated more than 40,000 jobs.

The short-term goal of this hub is to grow the number of its employees up to 60,000 and house a greater number of plants.

To achieve these goals, a strategic plan and an ambitious path have been drawn up. Part of this plan also includes the development and implementation of nanosatellites.

The aerospace industry has played a decisive role in boosting not only Querétaro's competitiveness but also its educational offer.

Recently, the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), the Polytechnic University of Querétaro (UPQ) and the Aeronautical University of Querétaro (UNAQ) signed a collaboration agreement to design, develop and operate a new nanosatellite within the low orbit constellation called "Constelación Aztechsat".

The project will gather information on marine wildlife and demonstrate the efficiency of the cubesat technology for tracking animals from space.

One of the trends in satellites is miniaturisation, experts have pointed out. Small devices weighing less than 10 kilograms to reduce the time required for mapping.

It should be noted that for the implementation of the project, the American National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will provide technical support with the launch into space through the International Space Station.

The UPQ will participate in the development of the nanosatellite's software and hardware, in collaboration with UNAQ. This is a medium-term project in which students, teachers and researchers will take Mexican talent to the next level.

The K'OTO nanosatellite project is an academic initiative currently in the process of being developed at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) by its High Technology Unit of the Faculty of Engineering (UAT-FI-UNAM), at the Juriquilla campus in Querétaro.

With the support of Mexican universities and state governments, it has been possible to increase existing capacities and generate conditions that allow the development of experimental university nanosatellites at the national level.

Such conditions represent a window of opportunity to increase the development of experimental satellite projects in Mexico, mainly for the training of specialised human resources in the space area. Moreover, the development of proprietary technology will avoid brain drains, technological dependence, and an increase in the space gap, mainly in the development of experimental nano- and micro-satellites.

Space technology provides unique opportunities for young students and researchers of new experimental telecommunications systems that enable academic projects on the interconnection of remote locations (e.g. telemedicine or distance education systems, among other activities) to be carried out on a not-for-profit basis.

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