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Cablegate: Ecuador Celebrates Anniversary of Former Nasa

VZCZCXRO9842
OO RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHQT #2318 2881558
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 151558Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7909
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 3807
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 0750
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 1997
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 2928

UNCLAS QUITO 002318

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

PLEASE PASS TO NASA, AND NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL INTELLIGENCE
AGENCY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TSPA TPHY TSPL SENV PREL OIIP SCUL EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR CELEBRATES ANNIVERSARY OF FORMER NASA
SATELLITE STATION


1. (U) Summary: Ecuador recently celebrated the 50th
anniversary of the Cotopaxi satellite ground tracking
station, built by NASA in 1957. Ambassador Jewell toured the
station and inaugurated a new space research program with
Vice President Lenin Moreno, celebrating our bilateral
scientific cooperation in geophysics, resource conservation
and disaster preparedness. End summary.

2. (U) With the advent of the anniversary of the Cotopaxi
Station, post saw an opportunity to highlight long-standing,
substantial bilateral cooperation on scientific issues.
Ambassador Jewell gave remarks and read a congratulatory
letter from NASA at an October 3 ceremony at the Station,
which is operated today by the Ecuadorian satellite agency
CLIRSEN (Centro de Levantamientos integrados de Recursos
Naturales por Sensores Remotos). The event was widely
attended by senior government, military, and municipal
officials, including Vice President Moreno and former
Ecuadorian President-for-three-days Rosalia Arteaga.
Ambassador's OMS Kelly Hopkins-Morell also attended, since
her father worked at the station from 1976-78.

3. (U) Post distributed press background highlights on
training cooperation between CLIRSEN and U.S. universities,
and on bilateral scientific cooperation in the areas of
tsunami preparedness, volcano observation, water conservation

SIPDIS
and rural development * stressing once again our commitment
to sustainable development in Ecuador. The event received
positive coverage on all major national TV networks, and was
also mentioned in several of the daily print media.

Background on the Satellite Station
-----------------------------------

4. (U) As part of NASA's "Minitrack" network of 19 ground
stations worldwide, the Cotopaxi Station participated in the
Apollo-Soyus Mission in 1975 and the second flight of the
Space Shuttle Columbia in 1981. Over 200 Ecuadorian contract
employees worked at the station in shifts operating 24 hours
per day, seven days a week. NASA handed over the station
(worth over $10 million in today's dollars) to the Ecuadorian
government in 1982, and since then CLIRSEN has gathered
satellite data there to produce over 1500 maps used to aid
planning and development in the areas of agriculture,
aquaculture, environment, health and disaster preparedness.

5. (U) Comment: The Cotopaxi event was an excellent
opportunity to highlight our long-standing scientific
cooperation with Ecuador. As we prepared for the event our
cooperation with government officials was excellent, as they
too sought to stress the mutually beneficial results of our
collaboration. During the event Vice President Moreno
commented to Ambassador that he "wants to keep this sort of
strong relations going between our countries." End comment.
JEWELL

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