Two space enthusiasts launched the first 100% Argentine rocket
They are on the starting line for a fetal competition. They start the motors to run an open circuit. It’s a space race, though it looks like Science Fiction In these lands, the first gear has already begun: a company with an integrated Argentine development launched the first rocket, part of a project aimed at providing the service of transporting small and small satellites into space for scientific or commercial use.
From a clear, barren field near Magdalena, 50 kilometers from La Plata, on January 23, the Zonda 1.0, 3.8 meters long, crossed the transparent sky of the Pampan region until it reached an altitude of 3000 meters. Cries of technicians and engineers on that dusty afternoon confirmed that the test had been completed Complete success. The company’s first step has been completed.
The article was contributed by Ricardo Messina, Principal of the Magdalena Technical School in collaboration with the Civil Institute of Space Technology (ICTE). This was done in a special area in which all the necessary infrastructure to launch the Zonda 1.0 was installed. It was a safe and controlled process.
Lia Aerospace is a private Argentine company dedicated exclusively to aviation logistics. Until it is understood: it provides support to transcend the boundaries of the atmosphere, scientific equipment, communications or security equipment. It is “freight”, a means of transportation to carry advanced systems to the edges of space.
Two turbine propellers, rockets, and propulsion systems encouraged this initiative. Federico Brito and Dan Etenberg have been working – one by one – on aviation issues for over 20 years. Brito has a degree in Teaching Science. Your partner is a mechatronic mechanical engineer. They crossed paths at a conference and immediately gathered in a common project. The lab that would become Lia Aeroespace in 2019 was born. It was a semi-automatic connection.
They published the idea in copious work volumes and secured the financial guarantees to start the project. As Etenberg said Clarion “The project is 100% funded by capital contributions and private investors.” They have a budget of only $ 100,000 to progress with the challenge that, less than two years after they started, managed to put their first rocket into orbit.
The launch at Magdalena in January confirmed the correct performance of all missile systems: avionics, cargo, launch tower, telemetry, and propulsion. Ground systems for fuel loading and pressure are also tested, which is essential for flight without failure. “In addition, we were able to identify opportunities for improvement to build their next missile, with a larger scale and flight altitude,” Etenberg excited.
There will be more. This summer’s trial concludes one of the four phases of the LIA Aerospace 2020-2024 work program, which aims to reduce the operational and financial risks of the project and ensure that its missiles are launched into orbit by 2024. Target, the company will launch its missile iterations every 12 to 18 months, with versions of larger size and payload. Net and flight altitude.
The trial last January.
Businessmen aim for the precious coral reefs. According to experts, at the moment, the launch of satellites around the world is moving at about 6 billion dollars, but the figure of 114 thousand million can be reached in the next ten years, with the increasing presence of less weight devices.
Although the Argentine technology activity on satellites developed nearly 30 years ago with the first civilian projects up to CONAE’s official SAC (Satellites for Scientific Applications) programs; ARSAT geostationary satellites; SAOCOM and Pehuensat-1 projects; And the Cube-Bug nanosatellites program from Satellogic.
Private actors are seeking a place in that open phase. “Any company, college, university, government, cooperative or institution that needs to launch a small satellite into space are potential customers,” Etenberg said. The CEO explained, “We are in constant contact with many companies that are planning to launch small and medium groups of satellites in the coming years, and we are in the process of determining the exact needs of each of them for future missions together.” By Lia Aerospace.
The engineer said, “Sub-orbital commercial flights will start before the end of this year, and we are planning orbital flights with loads of up to 250 kg by mid-2024.”
The Zonda 1.0.0 update measures 3.8 meters long.
Zonda 1.0, as well as the next missile versions to be developed by LIA Aeroespace, is a reusable missile, to reduce the environmental impact of launch operations, production times and costs. “The Zonda 1.0 fuel propulsion system included hydrogen peroxide manufactured by LIA Aerospace as the oxidizing agent and used biofuel – biodiesel -, resulting in 60% less carbon emissions than the fuel and fuels normally used,” says Britto, the company’s co-founder.
For now, Lia Aerospace seems far from the dreams of the millionaire Elon Musk, the owner (among other companies) of Space X, who last year achieved the completion of sending a manned mission to the International Space Station. They are also lagging behind in the space race promoted by China and the European Union. But any achievement rests on the pillar. And Zonda 1.0 is that milestone for reaching the top.