SpaceX will launch a new Mexican satellite into Earth’s orbit after a collaboration that involved students from Atlacomulco’s Polytechnic University.
The satellite, D2/AtlaCom-1, is expected to launch from the SpaceX control center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., in June.
It was developed by NanoAvionics and DragonFly with the collaboration of the students.
The principal function of the satellite is to collect imaging data for use in Mexico’s agricultural sector. It will allow researchers better land-use planning, conservation of natural resources, resilience to natural disasters and reduce costs.
The project is also seen as a stepping stone towards the establishment of a more robust relationship between Mexican researchers and students with the wider international aerospace sector.
“This project has given us a great opportunity to expose our students to cutting-edge technology in satellite imaging and data processing,” said Atlacomuclo Mayor Ladner Ayala.
Mexico has been involved in the design and construction of satellites since the 1980s with the establishment of the Morelos program.
Like many other countries, Mexico has historically relied on American and Russian-owned infrastructure for its satellite launches.
In 2010, SpaceX began offering far less expensive launch options. The company says it expects the cost of space launches to continue to drop as its fleet of reusable space vehicles continues to grow and become more reliable.