The creation of a space agency in Costa Rica, as well as the signing of the i2 agreement promoted by physicist Sandra Cauffman, would facilitate the deployment of Costa Rican scientists and engineers to NASA or other aerospace agencies for internships or work there. This is due to the reduction of procedures and the legal framework that is created as a result of the two initiatives.
Although there are multiple ways to obtain permits to join NASA as an intern, student or worker, the i2 agreement added to the creation of a space agency would allow this to be possible with just one signature.
Andrea Jiménez, a biomedical engineer and international consultant, lost her opportunity to do an internship at the US agency after not being able to comply with the large number of requirements that such procedure includes. Jiménez was personally invited by a doctor who works at NASA, when the Costa Rican met the entry profile, however, the lack of a special visa stopped her. “Currently it is very difficult. You need a professor from ‘X’ university to help you with your visa and for that visa to be used to work at NASA,” Jiménez explained.
i2 treaty essential move foward
The i2 treaty intends to create an employment contract endorsed by the Ministry of Science and Technology, which facilitates the stays of Costa Ricans in foreign space agencies. Cauffman, who is director of NASA’s Department of Earth Sciences, proposed said treaty almost six years ago, however, the country still does not have the legal tools to endorse these types of contracts, an enabling condition that would be achieved with an aerospace agency, like the one proposed in a bill by Aida Montiel, deputy for National Liberation.
“The aerospace agency would have different powers than a ministry, with the independence to collaborate directly with NASA. If the country had an institution of this type, we could not only sign the i2 treaty with NASA, but also with space agencies around the world such as those in Europe and the United Arab Emirates”, added Jiménez.
Montiel’s project was positively ruled last July by the Science, Technology and Education Commission of the Legislative Assembly. In addition to promoting the internationalization of Costa Ricans dedicated to the aerospace industry, the agency would be a lever for investments of this type in the country. The total turnover of the aerospace sector in the last year amounted to $ 360 billion on a global scale, mainly in the field of satellites.