INTA, this is Spain's space research program



When talking about space exploration, rockets, satellites, and other space events in history, Spanish researchers often appear rarely mentioned, but the reality is that their work has been of great importance. A sample of these is the history of the National Institute of Aerospace Technique (INTA).

From the first arrival of man on the Moon in 1969, until the last landing on Mars this 2021, Spain has been involved in many of the great space missions. This whole story goes back almost 80 years when in the middle of the Dictatorship the need was raised that Spain will have a center dedicated to aeronautical research.

On May 21, 1942, the creation of the National Institute of Aerospace Technique or INTA appeared in the Official Gazette of the State. An institution that continues to work to collaborate in the development of aeronautical technologies in the nineteenth century, such as the boost of drones and their use both military and business.

One of the first milestones that can be attributed to INTA took place a few years before Neil Armstrong stepped on the lunar surface. In 1974, the space baptism of Spain, NASA's DELTA rocket, put the INSTASAT, the first "made in Spain", into orbit. It was a microsatellite with a lifespan of two years, which was responsible for the study of electrons in the ionosphere using the so-called FARADAY effect.

The collaboration between Spain and NASA dates back almost to the beginning of the famous U.S. space agency. A year after its creation (the late 50s) they already worked with Spanish engineers to install the first space station on Spanish soil, in Maspalomas. A strategic point for the first alunizaje. Buitrago station also helped NASA to be in constant contact with astronauts visiting the satellite.



The history of INTA is full of successes and failures. They have been dedicated to creating satellites, missiles, even INTA-100, INTA-300B, INTA-600, Argo, and Capricorn space rockets. These are the result of the Capricorn government program that was born in 1990 and closed in 2000, for which the construction of the Space Launch Center of El Hierro Island, the Canary Islands always very present throughout our space journey, was also planned.

Another milestone of this institution in recent years is the incorporation of Patricia Ortega, the first female general of the Armed Forces who was appointed in 2019 as Deputy Director-General of Terrestrial Systems of INTA. This event went unnoticed more than Spain's last major collaboration with NASA and was held high in 2021.

The Perseverance arrived in February to the surface of Mars with a spectacular landing. Onboard, there is a MEDA (Mars

Environmental Dynamics Analyzer) weather station developed in Spain. Years earlier, Curiosity also carried the REMS (Rover Environmental Meteorological Station), both designed by the CSIC-INTA Center for Astrobiology. A few months after the 80th birthday, this institution has marked a new achievement in its extensive history and will surely not be the last.

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