Space researchTuesday, June 23, 2009
Interplanetary support station to be installed in Argentina
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced today that it will install in the Andean region of Argentina, in the locality of Malargüe, a support station for its interplanetary missions, informed the Argentine Chancery in Buenos Aires.
The Argentine chancellor and president of the National Space Activities Commission (CONAE), Jorge Taiana, celebrated the news and highlighted "the transcendence of this joint effort and the vital importance for the technological development" of the country.
ESA will install a station in Malargüe, province of Mendoza (west), which will be composed of an antenna with a 35m diameter and facilities for its operations, which will support the mission "Deep Space" -that plans on exploring deep space-, and other interplanetary missions that the European agency carries out, such as "Rosetta," "Venus Express," and "Mars Express."
"With the installation of this antenna, Argentine scientists, aside from being integrated to European projects of investigation, will gain access to the use of this important international network in order to carry on their own studies, in the context of the National Space Plan," Taiana said.
The agreement was established between ESA and CONAE, which also coordinated and implemented the project. The European decision was considered by the chancellor as "milestone."
Malargüe is located 1,180 km west of Buenos Aires City and 1,400 m above sea level, in the skirts of the Andean mountains. It was selected out of 20 different places in Latin America, thanks to geological conditions of the terrain and the cleanliness of the radio electric spectrum of the zone.
In this same place, the astronomical observatory Pierre Auger was also installed, which is dedicated to the analysis of high energy cosmic rays that reach the Earth. This observatory is considered the most important centre in the world of its kind.