The aeronautical engineer from Malaga, José María Ortega, on board a lunar rover. / SUR

Malaga-born space engineer with plans to grow vegetables on the moon

José María Ortega has joined Airbus in the UK and is working on number of fascinating projects


A Malaga-born aeronautical engineer has just joined the space division of Airbus in London where he is already immersed in the technological design of lunar rovers, spacecraft, probes and satellites.

After six years heading a Green Moon project in the UK, José María Ortega has achieved his dream. The 29-year-old told SUR: “Now I'm in charge of integrating at a high level all the antennas, batteries, solar panels and other subsystems that make up the satellite or spacecraft for scientific missions”.

Airbus is the main manufacturer of the technology commissioned by the European Space Agency for its missions. His new work touches on all areas: energy, telecommunications, data handling, cabling and electromagnetic compatibility. In his team, made up of around twenty engineers, there are several Andalusians, including colleagues from Malaga. Ortega’s international team collaborates with research groups from the University of Malaga (UMA) in projects focused on the development of satellites and probes that in the future will be sent to study Mars and other planets.

"It's the dream I've had since I was a child. In the Green Moon Project I thought only of the moon, and now suddenly you see infinite possibilities in space," Ortega said.

Ortega also said that his company's colleagues have been very receptive to his initiative to grow vegetables on the moon. "We are going to see how we can add to it, now that the Spanish Space Agency has come to Andalucía (it will have its headquarters in Seville), which is great news. We are immersed in the lunar decade, everything is very buoyant."

The next ten years should see the arrival of the Artemis missions to the moon, as well as numerous projects for the development of telecommunications on the satellite, human bases and, crops to provide food.