SA-SGW 2015: Working Group Topics

One of the primary components of the South American Space Generation Workshop (SA-SGW) is the working group sessions. Each delegate is assigned into one of four groups. The groups in the break-out sessions discuss a pertinent space topic, which is guided by Subject Matter Experts from the field, who will join these working groups to support them with knowledge to make the group discussions more fruitful. The preliminary conclusions of each group are presented to the rest of the delegates on the last afternoon of SA-SGW and the final conclusions are written into reports that are presented at the Argentine Congress of Space Technology.

The four workshop topics of this year are:

1. Education and Space Outreach Programs – how can South America get more involved and stay motivated?
2. South American Space Agency – can/should it be realized?
3. Space Technology and Research Advancements in South America – what will it take to grow the SA region?
4. Mars mission simulations in South America – how/what can SA contribute?


 1. Education and Space Outreach Programs – how can South America get more involved and stay motivated?

It has been shown that space capabilities improve many aspects of people's lives and that societies are becoming more reliant on them through time. Space capabilities have thus become essential for the critical infrastructure for the world. Nevertheless, their positive impact and far-reaching consequences are usually underestimated by the people, even more by those among developing countries. This is problematic as it represents a real threat that put space-activities that could benefit a country at risk. This must be changed.

The Working Group can explore:

• What would be the best model for successful outreach of the benefits of space technologies and their impact to the general public?

• What are effective tools used to empower the target audience with a tangible outreach and education plan?

• Evaluation of key challenges that developing countries in the SA region face in improving space science education with regards to capacity building, funding prospects, institutional hurdles etc.

The Working Group can propose recommendations on: 

• A sustainable plan for space science education and outreach by developing countries in the SA region

• How to foster awareness among the general public on the importance of space science education in their daily lives

• What are the Asian or African regions doing with regards to this topic; is there anything that works for them that could work for the SA region?


 2. South American Space Agency – can/should it be realized?

The idea of establishing a South American Space Agency is not new. There have been many discussions about this for a while, and there was even an agreement by the UNASUR (South American Nations Union for its acronyms in Spanish) to create such space agency. The initiative was carried out by an Argentinean general, with a more military oriented collaboration. Brazil was proposed as an option to be the headquarters for this space agency. However, there seemed not to be that much support from the SA region both financially and logistically. Therefore, such space agency has not been established as of today. The existence of a South American Space Agency would allow access to a common orbital vector, which would lower costs and be always accessible. The best method to share costs in a joint effort like this would be to calculate them in relationship to the gross domestic product of each SA nation.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been a successful model for regional space collaboration with its development of Europe’s space capability and the delivery of continuous benefits to the citizens of Europe. Is it possible for countries in South America to establish such kind of cooperation to stimulate the development and application of capabilities in the space sector, which will allow undertaking missions far beyond the scope of what any single country in South America could do on its own?

The Working Group can explore:

• Challenges experienced on initially creating a South American Space Agency

• Possibility of establishing a South American Space Agency by 2030s

• Challenges to organize such Agency

• Pros/cons to realize such cooperation

The Working Group can propose recommendations on:

• How to ensure the political and legal practicalities in the creation of this regional cooperation

• Best practices for a regional cooperation in the future in case the establishment of such cooperation is concluded not feasible

• Methods to further cooperation in the space sector among SA countries in the near-term, with or without such Agency


 3. Technology and Research Advancement in SA – What will it take to grow the SA region

South America is emerging as a leading market for growth and development. The region has witnessed a decade of relatively high growth. Inspite of its rise, the gap with developed countries is still significant. There is a high tide of inequality within the SA region. Quality of education is highly uneven, and the investment on research and development is insufficient.

When most of the developing countries are marking for the Space-Age, the South American region is yet to make the mark. There is a greater urge for investment on research and development. Given the abundance of fresh water and natural resources the SA region can be a greater potential for space industry.

The Working Group can explore:

• The challenges to obtain government and private investment for technology and research development

• Best practices to obtain funds to start and/or continue research of space activities given the lack of government investment

The Working Group can propose recommendations on:

• The best approach to obtain greater participation of private companies in the form of long term public – private partnership for space matters

• How to collaborate among the SA region on current and future technology and research space projects/missions

• How to utilize natural resources characteristic of the SA region that can serve as a greater potential for the space industry


 4. Mars mission simulations in South America – how/what can SA contribute?

Natural terrestrial sites of similar mineralogical and geomorphological composition to planetary surfaces such as the Moon, and NEO asteroid or Mars have been used as models for research and simulation of manned space mission since the Apollo Program. Simulations permit personnel and equipment to be tested in realistic, interactive situations. They go from underwater space simulations to instrumented rocking cockpits, to incorporeal computer models. Simulations in terrestrial analogs allow researchers to field-test designs and procedures, to take advantage of natural features not available in the laboratory, and to study benefits and problems unique to this environment.

The characterization and study in depth of new natural terrestrial analogs is considered another important contribution to the future of manned space mission planning. The future will require an extensive planning and characterization the settlement of a base, the study of the terrain and the logistics involved in the recollection of soil samples. This shall include the previous evaluation of the use of in-situ resources, as well as the training of the crew for each scenario.

The Working Group can explore:

• Lessons learned of existent Mars simulations, and how SA can use those to develop terrestrial simulations in the region

• Different SA sites that have some geomorphological similarity to Mars

• The challenges that a terrestrial simulation in SA territory would involve

• Pros/cons of using this or that site instead of a laboratory or a territory that is not in SA

The Working Group can propose recommendations on:

• How to ensure the logistics involved in a SA terrestrial simulation

• Best practices for a regional cooperation in the future in case the simulation takes place

• Methods for further cooperation in the space sector among SA countries involved in the search of suitable terrestrial analogs of Planet Mars

 


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