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NOV. 16, 2020

Government announces opportunities for scientific and technological development offered by new Chilean space infrastructure

The Science Minister, Defense Undersecretary and Chilean Air Force Deputy Director of Space Affairs met representatives of the community associated with space activity to share details of the new capabilities of Chile’s National Satellite System (SNSAT)

“The law that created the Science Ministry gives us the mandate to safeguard and promote national space activity in collaboration with the National Defense Ministry and Transport and Telecommunications Ministry. This portfolio acknowledges our firm conviction to organize, link and coordinate institutions in the public and private sectors,” Minister Andrés Couve said in a meeting where more than seventy representatives from the public sector, academia, industry sector and civil domains associated with space development were present.

Defense Undersecretary, Cristián de la Maza, and Chilean Air Force Deputy Director of Space Affairs, Coronel Luis Felipe Sáez, also participated in the meeting that addressed the advancement of the National Space System Project and, in particular, the components of the new National Satellite System (SNSAT), announced by President Sebastián Piñera in October. This will provide Chile with new satellite capabilities, including a national space center with a satellite laboratory where the Chilean Air Force, universities, innovators and entrepreneurs can work together.

To this end, Minister Couve said, “This agenda is directly tied to our National Science Policy. It offers Chile enabling technology, infrastructure and opportunities to broaden its applications in, for example, areas of climate change research or fostering an industry where we can participate in building microsatellites and instrumentation. This agenda is a good sign for the scientific community regarding knowledge and innovation because we have to take full advantage of our large-scale investments made in technology.”

Defense Undersecretary Cristián de la Maza highlighted the initiatives undertaken by the Defense Ministry in the space field and the acquisition of the new National Satellite System. This will allow for an operational satellite to enter into service and to take over the functions of the aging FASat-Charlie satellite and for the building, launching and implementation of two new high-resolution satellites, one of which will be built in Chile. He said, “In view of the fact that FASat-Charlie is nearing the end of its useful life, we developed a project that evolved over time together with state-of-the-art technology and options, where one satellite was replaced with a more advanced one, which has resulted in the present day National Satellite System.” The Undersecretary also said a plan will be launched for the construction of seven microsatellites in Chile.

Meanwhile, Coronel Luis Felipe Sáez detailed the nature of the four National Satellite System’s subsystems: geospatial information, the construction of microsatellites and payloads, new satellite infrastructure that will replace the existing satellite and communicational capabilities. “This project focused on establishing a system and model of sustainable technological development and spatial capability, where the emphasis is on technological development and expanding space knowledge,” he said