Things That Matter

Salvadorian Astronaut: Resume, Army Major, Helicopter Pilot, and Surgeon

This week, NASA announced its newest class of astronauts. Out of a record setting 18,300 applicants, 12 people were selected to be members of the new class of space travelers. They’ll train for the next two years before becoming full fledged astronauts, performing missions and going into space. Among the 12 amazingly qualified women and men chosen is Dr. Frank Rubio, a Salvadoran-American, born in Los Angeles and raised in Miami. Dr. Rubio is not only a Major in the U.S. Army, having flown over 1,100 hours as a Blackhawk Helicopter pilot (including 600 hours of combat), the man is also a surgeon. Can you even get more qualified than that? He’s also a member of the very exclusive group of Latino astronauts at NASA.

Dr. Francisco “Frank” Rubio was announced as one of the members of the newest class of NASA astronaut candidates.

There have been just eleven Latino astronauts in total out of 350 chosen since Mercury 7 in 1959. Johnson Space Center Director Ellen Ochoa is one of those eleven and said this of the new class:

“These women and men deserve our enthusiastic congratulations. Children all across the United States right now dream of being in their shoes someday. We here at NASA are excited to welcome them to the team and look forward to working with them to inspire the next generation of explorers.”

The introduction to all 12 new astronauts was made at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX.

Among the 12 are engineers, scientists, pilots, a Navy SEAL and two doctors. In a separate post, NASA writes, “The talented women and men selected for the new astronaut class represent the diversity of America and the career paths that can lead to a place in America’s astronaut corps.”

Vice President Mike Pence was on hand to give remarks about the new astronauts.

“You are the 12 that made it through. You have joined the elites. You are the best of us,” said Vice President Pence.

After the pomp and circumstance, the crew got together to bond and take a couple selfies.

A post shared by NASA (@nasa) on Jun 8, 2017 at 5:53am PDT

From the Instagram caption on this photo, these astronauts could end up working at the International Space Station, launching on spaceships created by commercial companies or going into deep space missions on NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

We can’t wait to see what Dr. Rubio and the new class will accomplish in space!

[H/T] Al Día

READ: She Wasn’t About To Spend 4 Months Eating Canned Food, So This Boricua Figured Out How To Make Puerto Rican Food On Mars


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People Came Together And Raised The Money To Help A Mexican Engineering Student Make It To NASA

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People Came Together And Raised The Money To Help A Mexican Engineering Student Make It To NASA

There are a few moments when our dreams are actualized. For Daniela Villegas, that time is now. The Mexican engineering student earned a spot in a NASA program with her brains. Then, the community came together and raised the money she needed to follow her dream.

Daniela Villegas is a Mexican engineering student chasing her dreams.

Villegas is one of 60 people in the world chosen to participate in the International Air and Space Program. The program is a major educational opportunity for students in engineering and aerospace studies. Now that she has been chosen, it is time for her to pay the money in order to attend.

An online community came together and raised the money she needed to get to the NASA program.

What a wonderful moment for the young woman, and Mexicans everywhere. After all, when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. We are all here rooting for you, Daniela. You can do it, mija!

Villegas is bringing so much pride to Mexico and Mexicans around the world.

Daniela Villegas is studying mechatronics engineering, which is a specialized engineering field. Mechatronic engineering is where mechanical, electrical, computer and robotics engineering come together. Mechatronic engineers are the ones who help to create all of the smart technologies that we use almost every day to make our lives easier.

The TecNM – Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo student needs our help and we can make her dream happen.

TecNM – Instituto Tecnológico de Hermosillo is located in the middle of the state of Sonora. Villegas raised $3,500 to get to the program in Huntsville, Alabama, and any little bit helped. It also wouldn’t be bad if she raised more so she can fully enjoy her time in the program making the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

READ: A Mexican Teenager Was The First Minor In 100 Years To Be Accepted Into A Post-Graduate Program At Harvard

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mexican space program Wants To Be The Hub Of America Space Industry

Things That Matter

mexican space program Wants To Be The Hub Of America Space Industry

Although the world is still struggling with how best to contain the Coronavirus pandemic, many governments are forging ahead with long term goals and development programs.

One of the most important to new programs to launch in Mexico is central to its economic and scientific future – its future in space. Together with other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (some of which already have their own independent agencies), Mexico is looking to become the leader in the region when it comes to space research and exploration.

The country recently announced its intentions for just such an agency, that they hope would be based in Mexico with foreign capital providing the seed money to get the project off the ground.

Mexico announced its intention to head up a Latin American and Caribbean space agency.

Mexico has launched an ambitious new project – creating a Latin American Space and Caribbean Space Agency that would facilitate the sharing of satellite images and aims to observe the planet. The agency would be dedicated to earth observation, satellite image sharing and multi-sector dialogue.

The project was presented by Javier López Casarín, Honorary President of the Technical Council of Knowledge and Innovation of the Mexican Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AMEXCID). López Casarín attended the meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), where he presented the project for the creation of the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency, an entity that will be at the same level as other agencies (think NASA and the European Space Agency) of world space research with which it hopes to exchange information.

As part of the same meeting, the Latin American coordinators highlighted the role of Mexico in charge of the presidency of the community of Latin American states and appreciated the proposal to create a joint space agency.

Mexico has had a space agency of its own since 2010 but they’re looking to expand the operations.

Mexico has had its own space agency, the Agencia Espacial Mexicana, since 2010. Plus, several other countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have their own similar departments that over see satellites, information gathering, meteorological date, etc.

Mexico’s space agency has been tasked with carrying out study programs, research, and academic support, however, its duties have never included the aim of space exploration with its own infrastructure.

One of the agency’s key objectives is to help increase internet connectivity across the region.

In 2019, the Agencia Espacial Mexicana announced it was developing its space program around the needs of Mexican society – that it would be for the social benefit.

Among other techonoligcal solutions, the government has made it a core principle to help expand access to Internet across the country. By merging various space agencies into one, this increased Internet connectivity will likely spread to other countries in Latin America.

Internet connectivity rates vary from around 27% in El Salvador to close to 80% in Brazil – so bringing that wide gap is seen as critical for sustained development in the region.

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