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Weekly Roundups

Mexico to Participate in First LATAM Space Mission

By Alessa Flores | Thu, 10/15/2020 - 13:26

In the first Latin American manned space mission in history, José Alberto Ramírez Aguilar, an academic from UNAM’s School of Engineering, was chosen to represent Mexico as part of the LATCOSMOS-C program. This program seeks to encourage Latin American technicians and scientists to demonstrate their ability to fly manned missions. The crew will consist of experts from Ecuador, Costa Rica and Mexico, as well as an individual from the US. The flight process will take approximately 10 minutes to perform a series of experiments in microgravity. The Latin American crew will make a suborbital flight until crossing the Karmic line, that is, the limit between the atmosphere and outer space, and then descend almost immediately, explains a note from El Financiero.

Now let’s jump into the Week in Aerospace! 

Boeing-Airbus Dispute Continues; EU to Enforce More Tariffs

One of the largest corporate disputes in history took another turn yesterday after the World Trade Organization (WTO) upheld a decision to allow the EU to impose tariffs on US imports’ worth US$4 billion. The decision is just the latest turn in what started as complaints regarding unfair subsides among the largest aerospace companies in the world, Airbus and Boeing. The battle now involves billions in imports and exports between the US and Europe. 

The ages-long rivalry between Airbus and Boeing led to a now 16-year-old trade war that shows little signs of stopping. Back in 2004, the US accused the French aerospace giant Airbus of receiving unfair subsidies from the EU, after which the EU was quick to point out the subsides that the US’ Boeing had received from the US government. Both Airbus and Boeing have been pressured by their respective governments to resolve the trade dispute and both companies have repeatedly said that they are following WTO rules to the letter. However, the trade dispute continues. The European Commission has stated that it would refrain from imposing tariffs if the US would walk back from the ones it imposed on European goods.

Mexico, Argentina to Create Space Agency

Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Relations Marcelo Ebrard and Argentinian Chancellor Felipe Carlos Solá signed on Friday, Oct. 9, a declaration that would set the next steps for collaboration on space matters across the region. The signing was scheduled as part of both countries’ celebration of World Space Week, an event held every year between Oct. 4 and 10 to highlight the role of space science and technology in the improvement of human lives. While only Mexico and Argentina signed the collaboration, participants highlighted that this is only the first step in promoting cooperation among the many countries in the region. Mexico’s efforts range from the development of fully Mexican satellites to the use of space technology to support the fight against COVID-19. Argentina’s National Commission of Space Activities (CONAE) performs a similar role in coordinating, managing and promoting space matters in accordance to the southern country’s National Space Plan. Argentina currently has four satellites and is currently developing a satellite launcher, among other projects.

Low Risk of Inflight COVID-19 Transmission, Say Planemakers

From the start of the outbreak, a total of 44 cases of potential inflight transmission of COVID-19 have been identified across the world. While this number may give some people pause, it is significantly low once accounting for the more than 1 billion people who have traveled by aircraft during that time. Determining the exact number of passengers that might have gotten COVID-19 inflight is a challenging task. A recent air traveler diagnosed with COVID-19 might have been exposed shortly before going to the airport, in-route to the airport, at the airport, during the flight or soon after arrival at their destination, making it harder for researchers to determine the exact point of contagion. Therefore, to increase passenger confidence, aerospace OEMs Airbus, Boeing and Embraer have tested the airflow systems of their respective aircraft to track the movement of air particles in the cabins. Through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tests, planemakers observed that airflow systems reduce the risk of transmission. In addition, airlines have also implemented numerous other measures to reduce transmission risks, such as the use of face masks at all times during flights. 

Photo by:   skeeze
Alessa Flores Alessa Flores Senior Journalist and Industry Analyst