Young women scientists and engineers help make Quetzal-1, Guatemala's first satellite in space, a success



On 28 April 2020, Guatemala put its first satellite into space, and a group of young women scientists and engineers was an integral part of the team that made the success possible. The satellite, Quetzal-1, was built by the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala and was the winner of the KiboCUBE program run by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency. The development and deployment of the satellite contribute to many of the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 9 - industry, innovation and infrastructure and SDG 6 - clean water and sanitation. Onboard Quetzal-1 is a sensor that can be used to monitor natural resources such as water quality of inland water bodies.

Cecilia Marsicovetere, María Fernanda Lee, Nancy Mazariegos and Odalis Reyes worked as technical development and testing engineers on Quetzal-1 and were recently interviewed by the Guatevision news network. In the interview, the women discussed their experiences working on the first-of-its-kind project in their country, as well as what it was like for them to be female engineers in a field that has been historically male-dominated.   

“I think with this project we managed to open a great door for science in Guatemala,” said Reyes. As for her experiences being part of a group of women who are leading the way in scientific development, while there are some challenges she said: “I feel that it is being taken into account that my word and my voice have importance.”

View the entire interview (in Spanish) at: