For the second time in our history, a device made in Costa Rica, and by local hands, was orbiting in space. In this case, it is a research device that was launched from the Esrange spaceport, in Sweden.
This initiative is part of the MUSA project, which seeks treatments against “Panama disease”, a disease that attacks banana crops. The plan started as a student project at TEC several years ago. Now it has escalated to a professionalization of tests.
In the first stage of the launch, the effects of micro-gravity were tested for a few minutes. With the results obtained, changes and a new launch will be made, but on that occasion it will remain for 2 weeks at the International Space Station. MUSA is run by startup Orbital Space Technologies (OST). The Space Systems Laboratory (SETEC-Lab) and the Biotechnology Research Center (CIB), both belonging to the Technological Institute (TEC), also collaborated with them. In addition, there was financing from private companies.
Work ahead into outer space
Despite the achievement, the participants stated that there is still a lot of work ahead. “More than fulfilling the dream of carrying out our first space mission, it is a motivation to continue working on what we like the most”, said the head of OST, Valeria Dittel. “This suborbital flight means a firm step as a space company in an emerging country like Costa Rica, projecting our mission to be a connection between Latin America and space, by generating technologies for experimentation in microgravity. These technologies align with our vision of being able to help generate innovative solutions to problems on Earth”, she stated.
“This shows that the Costa Rican space industry has the capacity to implement space projects of great scientific value, and accelerate the technological development of Costa Rica”,stated the SETEC-Lab coordinator, Johan Carvajal.
Another striking factor was highlighted by Julio Calvo, president of the Central American Association of Aeronautics. “The newest thing this time is that the leadership is university students, with a high participation of women. This fills us with pride and joy, because they are proof of the paradigm shift that higher education in our nations so much requires. Here we see students of scientific and technological careers, from public and private universities, working together and inspired to face great challenges with innovation and entrepreneurship in their own company”, he asserted.