This is the first article in series which will be promoting increase engagement between the United States and Mexico in the field of Space Exploration. With a rich history of collaboration on a variety of international causes, there is an opportunity to take our relationship to the next frontier: Outer Space. As our countries have benefited from one another collaboration in a variety of industries its not only our ability to build machines but our ability to produce the talent necessary to revolutionize industries and impact global economies which elevates us. This series aims to inspire support towards the collaboration of both countries to identify and cooperatively pursue peaceful space exploration and science initiatives in areas of mutual interest, taking all appropriate measures to protect sensitive information, intellectual property, trade secrets, and economic interests of the United States and Mexico.
Cooperating with one another in the space industry does not only have intrinsic value but financial as well. Currently valued at $339 billion, with projections for valuation in 2040 reaching $2.7 Trillion, the space industry is ripe for disruption. Not only is there the opportunity of financial gain but also of job creation. Even with Private-Sector entities, such as SpaceX, battling for market share federal agencies still hold the majority of influence in the direction of the industry. No longer only associated with advances in National Security, the research and innovation of generated by Space Agencies are felt in a variety of industries including health and medicine, transportation, public safety, consumer goods, environmental and agricultural resources, computer technology, and industrial productivity.
Mexico’s space agency, the Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM), was founded in 2010; however, the country has been active in the space industry since the 1970s. In the past, Mexico’s AEM has worked with the U.S.’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on the deployment of satellites and a variety of other space experiments. Recognized globally as the premier space agency, NASA has 49 active International Agreements with 21 International Partners. Today, our countries share only one active agreement revolving International Internships. This is a deep contrast from the relationship Compared to Canada which has 6 active agreements revolving around: Astrobiology, Aerodynamics, Human Factors, Human-Computer Interactions, Earth Science, and Planetary Science. I am confident these agreements could be mirrored in Mexico which would benefit North America.
Mexico’s future in the industry is bright for a variety of reasons but two that stand out are the country’s talent pool and access to investment in the field. Since 2012, Mexico has produced engineers at a higher rate than the U.S. Today, Mexico is one of the largest global producers of engineers and one of the highest global recipients of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the Aerospace sector.
The private sector is already moving towards this direction. In 2014, SpaceX announced the creation of a new launch site near the US-Mexico border, in Brownsville, Texas. The site looks to leverage the region recognized growing human potential and the number of American private enterprises in the region. More recent conversations floated have included the use of the Gulf Coast as a landing spot for reusable rockets. The site is expected to be operational later in 2018.
Moving forward the United States and Mexico needs to make a more concerted and public effort in regards to collaborative space projects. As neighbors, there are too many advantages available to one another to ignore. In addition to capital gains and job creation, expanding cross-border collaboration can assist in
- Closing the digital gap between both countries,
- Improving our approaches in reaching communities with for services like remote education, health and disaster prevention (w/ emphasis on the border region)
- Consolidation of the regions innovative ecosystem
- Improving how we monitor weather systems, shared bodies of water, and other detection systems
- Better our telecommunications and countries connectivity
- Enhance our Space monitoring ability
For these reasons, I believe both of our countries’ governments should be actively promoting collaborative efforts and policy to improve Space Collaboration between the US and Mexico. I hope this article sparks a much-needed conversation regarding our involvement in the development of identifying and cooperatively pursuing peaceful space exploration and science initiatives in areas of mutual interest of our countries and the region. If interested in contributing to the conversation please reach out with your ideas and the efforts your organization is contributing towards a more collaborative space industry.