Mexico is set to become the first Latin American country to send a payload to the Lunar surface, courtesy of Google Lunar XPrize competitor Astrobotic. Although just a beginning, the agreement described in the press release below is an encouraging sign for other companies such as Bigelow Aerospace which are building business plans based on substantial participation by traditionally non-spacefaring nations.
Astrobotic Press Release:
Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM) and Astrobotic Partner to Facilitate Payload to the Moon
June 10, 2015
Agreement Signed to Develop and Deliver the First Latin American Payload to the Lunar Surface
PITTSBURGH, PA – Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM) and Astrobotic Technology Inc. are pleased to announce a joint effort to facilitate the development and delivery of the first payload from Latin America to the Moon. Astrobotic and AEM have entered into an agreement outlining a commitment by both organizations to enable a Mexican payload to the Moon. Through this partnership, AEM will take its first step to another planetary body.
“Opening access to the Moon is precisely at the core of Astrobotic’s mission,” said John Thornton, CEO of Astrobotic. “AEM’s rising space science and exploration community is yet one more example of the immense international interest in the Moon as a destination for science, exploration, and other activities. We are proud to be partnered with our friends in Mexico.”
In May, AEM issued its second request for proposals (RFP) through the AEM-CONACYT Fund of Trusts for Space Science and Technology, in which project proposals are expected from the Mexican space science and exploration community to determine the agency’s lunar payload. The RFP is expected to be awarded by Fall 2015. The winning proposal will be built and delivered to the Moon.