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Merida Aerospace sets ambitious new plan for 2021 test launch

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Artists rendering of Merida Aerospace launch vehicle. Photo: Courtesy

After a series of delays related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Merida Aerospace says that it is set to conduct its first rocket test this year. 

“At this point, we are looking to begin work as soon as possible. If everything goes right, we could get started as early as summer of 2021,” says Robert Velasco, chief engineer of the Tampa, Fla.-based company. 

The location of the launch facilities and control center were not disclosed. Company representatives only said that the facilities would be in a remote region of the state, perhaps near the coast.

As of December, the company had not purchased any property in Yucatán and was still applying for permits. 

It is also unknown if the company has completed the construction of any of its test rockets. Even simple space-faring rockets can take years to build, research and development aside.

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Investment for the project has come from private investors in the United States and Mexico.

Yucatán has seen growing investment from the international aerospace sector in the last couple of decades. In 2001, PCC Airfoils opened a factory in Mérida’s industrial park where it produces aircraft components such as engines and turbines.

Last June, Yucatán’s governor penned a letter of intent with the Spanish aerospace firm Deimos, which has expressed interest in developing future projects in the region. According to official reports, the first phase of investment would be US$130 million and would include the creation of a facility that would employ 200 specialized engineers and 600 support staff.

Mexico’s national space agency, Agencia Espacial Mexicana, was established in 2010 but does not possess any launch infrastructure.

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