July 26, 2012

China Strikes Deal With Argentina For Deep Space Antenna

Lee Rannals for - Your Universe Online

China is building more momentum as a space agency by striking a deal with Argentina to build an antenna for deep space observations.

Argentina's government announced on Wednesday that it has struck a deal with China to build the antenna in the county's southern Patagonia region.

The agreement also defines more general "parameters for establishing earth-based installations," and creates a basis for future cooperation, according to the statement by the Argentina government.

The deal struck between Argentina's space agency and China's agency for controlling and tracking of satellites emphasized that the antenna is "a project of tremendous importance" that will permit the Latin American country "to develop interplanetary exploration activities," and to study deep space.

The deal will give the Argentina space agency the ability to study distant celestial bodies, and monitor and control satellites and acquire scientific data.

China became the third country to use its own equipment to send a person into space back in 2003, while Argentina is considered to be Latin America's most advanced program.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is finishing up construction of an antenna in Argentina's central-west Mendoza province in order to advance its studies of deep space.

Argentina sent up the first Argentinian scientific satellite on November 4, 1996, which had a goal to study solar physics and astrophysics.  However, launching problems kept it from being deployed in orbit.

The country's space agency has found success though, with its SAC-C satellite, which launched on November 21, 2000. This satellite is still operational and carries a multispectral mid resolution sensor, a high resolution technological camera, a high sensitivity camera, and the GPS Occultation and Passive reflection experiment.

The space agency's SAC-D/Aquarius salute was launched in cooperation with NASA back on June 10, 2011. This satellite carries seven scientific instruments to study the environment.