This Week in Space

Mar 29th 2024

This Week in Space 104

The Artemis Accords, Ecuador, and You

Hosted by Rod Pyle, Tariq Malik

Ecuador's Space Ambitions With Robert Aillon

New episodes posted every Friday.
Guests: Robert Aillon
Category: News

Spaceflight is no longer just for superpowers—there are now 37 countries signed to NASA's Artemis Accords for the return to the Moon, and previously non-spacefaring nations are getting into the spaceflight trade, Ecuador among them. Robert Aillon, who started a National Space Society chapter in Ecuador after attending a graduate program at the University of Arizona's Thunderbird School, was a prime mover in getting Ecuador to sign on to the accords. He is also pushing for a spaceport in the country, which has the advantage of an equatorial location. Join us as we discuss the ever-increasing opportunities for new players to enter the coming space age!


  • Boeing vs. Virgin Galactic Legal Battle: A surprising lawsuit over unpaid fees and alleged retention of trade secrets linked to Virgin Galactic's plans for a new SpaceShipTwo. This legal tussle highlights the complexities of aerospace partnerships and the competitive edge in space tourism and transport technologies.
  • Delta IV Heavy's Final Launch: An end of an era for the Delta IV Heavy, once the most powerful rocket in the U.S. arsenal, marking the conclusion of the Delta rocket family's 64-year history. For this final mission it will loft a large satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office., underscores the transition in space launch capabilities and the anticipation of new advances like ULA's Vulcan rocket.
  • Solar Eclipse Preparedness and Safety: Tariq and Rod share critical advice on solar eclipse observation, emphasizing the importance of verified safety equipment to protect viewers from harm. This discussion not only prepares the audience for the upcoming eclipse but also stresses the significance of science education and public safety in viewing solar events.

Main Topic: Artemis Accords & Ecuador's Ambitions in Space:

  • Introduction to Robert Aillon and Leviathan Space Industries: Aillon's transition from finance to space technology represents a broader trend of diversification in the space industry, with new actors bringing innovative perspectives and driving forward the commercial space agenda.
  • Ecuador's Signing of the Artemis Accords: A monumental achievement for Ecuador, facilitated by Aillon's diplomacy and strategic vision. This move places Ecuador on the global space exploration map, promising opportunities for technological, educational, and economic growth through international collaboration in lunar exploration and beyond.
  • Potential of Ecuador as a Space Hub: The geographical advantages of Ecuador, including its proximity to the equator and diverse ecosystems, are explored as unique contributions to global space efforts. These attributes position Ecuador as an ideal location for launch sites, astronaut training, and scientific research, embodying the country's potential to become a significant player in the space industry.
  • Empowering the Next Generation: Aillon's outreach and educational initiatives, particularly through the National Space Society's Guayaquil chapter, highlight the importance of inspiring and preparing young Ecuadorians for careers in space and science. These efforts are crucial for building a knowledgeable workforce and fostering a culture of innovation.
  • Future Prospects and Calls to Action: The episode concludes with a look at the future, emphasizing the need for international cooperation, regulatory frameworks, and private sector engagement to realize the full potential of Ecuador's space ambitions. Aillon's call to action for global support underscores the interconnectedness of the space community and the shared benefits of expanding humanity's presence in space.

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