Mexico City - Mexico plans to begin construction this year on a space port to send satellites aloft, an official said Monday.

The facility will be located in the southern state of Quintana Roo on the border with Belize, said state planning minister Jose Alberto Alonso Ovando. The location was chosen after extensive studies in part because of its proximity to the Equator, he said in an interview.

Late last year, the Mexican National Congress approved the founding of a national space agency, Aexa. The agency's headquarters will be located in the state of Hidalgo from where it will oversee launches and space flights.