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Mexico set to start space programme

A hobbyist logo (right) of the federal 'Mexican Space Agency', AEXA (Agencia Espacial Mexicana). The artist is Rodrigo Jimenez.

NEW DELHI (BNS): Mexico is set to enter the space race with the approval by politicians for creation of a space agency that will seek to bolster research and raise the country's scientific profile.

The lower house of Mexico's Congress had voted to support the agency - Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEXA) - which was endorsed by the Senate in 2008.

The proposal will now go to President Felipe Calderon for final approval, UK's multimedia news agency Press Association reports.

The space center will be set up on the Yucatan Peninsula and its structure will be similar to that of NASA.

Nasa astronaut Jose Hernandez, US-born son of Mexican migrant farm workers, has volunteered to help start Mexico's first space agency.

An agreement was signed in 1996 between Russia and Mexico on cooperation in space research and exploration for peaceful purposes.

In March 2009, a delegation of experts from Russian space agency Roscosmos visited with Russian space experts saying they were ready to help Mexico develop its national space program on a commercial basis.

Astronaut Rodolfo Neri Vela, was the first Mexican citizen to make it to space, flying aboard the shuttle Atlantis in 1985.

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