Nation & World

Lawmakers approve creation of Mexican Space Agency

MÉXICO CITY -- The lower house of Congress voted to approve the creation of the Mexican Space Agency, or AEXA, which will be in charge of developing the country's space policy.

The agency will promote space research studies, the development of space technologies and the training of specialists.

The agency's creation was first proposed by a lawmaker in 2005, but it was not until last year that a group of scientists and senators got behind the initiative.

Mexican-American astronaut José Hernández expressed support for the project during one of his first visits to México.

The new agency, which will coordinate its work with the Communications and Transportation Secretariat, will formulate the general goals of México's space policy and the National Space Activities Program.

AEXA will also develop a program of activities to expand México's educational, industrial, scientific and technical capabilities in the space area.

The legislation approved by Congress gives the agency the ability to work with domestic and foreign entities to complete its mission.

The space agency will have an initial budget of 100 million pesos (about $8 million), according to Fernando de la Peña, AEXA's main promoter.

AEXA will have two facilities, an operations base in the central state of Hidalgo and a launch center in the Yucatán Peninsula, De la Peña said.