Laika Aerospace: Pioneers of Experimental Rockets in Mexico


In a display of ingenuity, dedication, and teamwork, Laika Aerospace from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) has positioned itself as a benchmark in experimental space exploration in Mexico, within the ENMICE competition held in Chihuahua.

Led by Esteban Rangel, an aeronautical engineer from the Higher School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (ESIME) Ticomán and responsible for avionics, along with Horacio Becerra, the team captain and in charge of propulsion, Laika Aerospace challenges the limits of technology with their innovative designs of experimental rockets.

“We have manufactured each piece of our engines, and we have also carried out the corresponding tests, some have been successful and others not,” said Becerra.

This project has an ambitious vision to become a reference in the field of experimental rocketry in the country, its trajectory is marked by commitment and a spirit of collaboration.

Their latest achievement, the design and manufacture of a rocket prototype capable of reaching 2 kilometers in height, it was the result of months of hard work and dedication. In the ENMICE competition held in Chihuahua from April 11 to 13, the students achieved first place in the 2 km category, in addition to receiving an honorary mention in sportsmanship.

“We are very excited about this project that started in May 2023, it was our first competition and fortunately, we won it, now we seek innovation in using hybrid fuel called RXN,” affirms the Laika Aerospace team.

The success is largely due to their focus on innovation and technological independence. From the design of the rocket structure to the manufacture of solid fuel engines, the team has demonstrated its ability to face challenges with creativity and determination.

One of the highlights of the prototype is its advanced telemetry system, which allows real-time monitoring of a variety of variables during flight, including pressure, temperature, acceleration, and speed. This technology enables them to perform detailed analyses of each flight and continuously improve their designs.

However, the path to success has not been without obstacles. From failures in the prototypes to logistical setbacks in competitions, lack of manufacturing capacity, among other numerous challenges.

Looking to the future, Laika Aerospace aims to represent Mexico in the Latin America Space Challenge in Brazil, with the goal of developing rockets capable of reaching even higher altitudes. Their vision of contributing to the advancement of science and engineering in the country promises to inspire future generations of scientists and space explorers.

Abigail Sánchez, co-founder of Orion Rocket, also from the IPN and responsible for the payload, announced that they are waiting to launch their rocket in the coming months. The aircraft, made with composite materials such as fiberglass and equipped with a solid fuel motor of potassium nitrate and sorbitol, has been designed with two flight computers and a CO2-based ejection system. Additionally, it features two parachutes: the Drog and the main parachute.

Orion recently obtained second place in the 3Km category in 2023-2024, plans to participate in the National Astronautical Congress in Milan, Italy, and in the largest rocketry competition in Latin America in Brazil. The project, which has been in development for about a year, seeks to highlight Mexico’s capacity to develop aerospace technologies and is looking for financial support to continue innovating, especially in the research of liquid fuel engines.

Source: A21