Creating a space agency in Costa Rica could lead to significant economic benefits for the country, through attracting aerospace investments, estimated Sandra Cauffman, deputy director of NASA’s Earth Sciences Division.
Costa Rica could develop an industry similar to that of medical devices, through the manufacture of space devices, the engineer considers. Cauffman spoke about the debate that looms over the creation of this agency, at a time when the country is going through an economic crisis.
What do you think of the creation of a Costa Rican space agency?
“It seems to me that it will help the country a lot economically, since it is an opportunity for the country to be recognized in the world as a center for space investments. Costa Rica has the technical capacity and enough engineers to make it happen”.
“Something similar to what happened with medical devices can happen around this industry, but designing devices for space. Once it is a national law, the challenge will be for that agency to move forward, because success will depend on how well it is executed and is really created for the benefit of the country”.
Is a mega investment necessary to start this Agency?
“No, I would rather imagine it being small, but it is an investment that should be used to educate people. The country must allocate these resources to send Costa Ricans to do internships at NASA and it is a struggle that I have been in for more than six years”.
“NASA, being a state agency, cannot allocate its resources to pay internships for foreigners, so this has been an obstacle for many people who have had the illusion of gaining experience there”.
“However, with a Costa Rican agency, the State can pay for these students and take advantage of their knowledge when they return to the country. Imagine that a bilateral internship agreement with NASA has been signed by 16 countries, and Costa Rica has not been able to because there are no institutions in the country that take responsibility”.
Is that saying the agency also means educational opportunities?
“Of course, there are opportunities at ten NASA centers; there are many opportunities, and only one official decision separates us from this. We are losing competitive advantages in an industry that can be highly developed. It is a small investment that would generate a lot in the future”.