The launch of Morelos, the first Mexican telecommunications satellite system in 1985, linked to the flight of the country’s first astronaut, sparked a wave of popular interest in outer space and space technology as an indicator of Mexican modernity, but this enthusiasm waned when the space sector seemed to stagnate. The creation of the Mexican Space Agency in 2010 amid a global space boom has inspired a new generation of space enthusiasts. At the same time, many older engineers express nostalgia for the “Coca-Cola can satellites“ like Morelos, which allowed for human intervention in their operations, unlike today’s “black box“ satellites. The talk traces the history of satellites in Mexico as fetishized infrastructural assemblages that condense global contradictions, national pride and individual subjectivities.
Anne Johnson, Professor in Social Anthropology at Universidad Iberoamericana