China and Argentina signed a space cooperation treaty on July 20, by which a tracking, command, and data-acquisition center will be built in the province of Neuquen, Argentina, containing an antenna for research of outerspace. Its purpose will be to ensure the visibility of spacecraft from the Southern Hemisphere, and give support from Earth to China's Lunar Exploration Program, interplanetary missions, and astronomical studies. This will also be used by Argentina's Space agency, the CONAE, for its own programs.
China's "Chang-E" Lunar Exploration Program has three phases, which require a permanent and complete high-precision control, through a network of specific antennae on Earth's surface, permitting almost complete visibility of space waves in deep Space. China currently has two stations on its own territory for this type of communication, but needed a third in the Southern Hemisphere. From Argentina's side, having this type of station on its own territory, gives it the opportunity to participate in a key lunar exploration program, and gives it access to tools and technologies for CONAE's own space projects. CONAE will act as a coordinator between national, provincial, and local authorities and China's CLTC (Satellite Launch and Control agency). This is a project "of enormous relevance for our country, that will allow us to develop activities for interplanetary exploration, the study of deep Space, astronomical observation, tracking and control of satellites in orbit, and acquisition of scientific data," CONAE said in an August, 2012 statement.
For its part, Panama is negotiating an accord with the Indian Space Research Organization for it to establish a satellite tracking station in Panama. Dr. Ruben Berrocal Timmons, Panama's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, is in India now, where he declared that Panama wanted to be an advanced scientific nation, and such a facility would help in tracking satellites sent by various countries. He expects an agreement to be concluded within six months."
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