Prepared By Juan Diaz Infante for cem


To explain better Ulises project, it has to be told as it happened, as a time line. The reason is that the project has developed unexpected results, so its organization is more biological than logical. ANd eventhough a lot of people have intervened, itis only one story


The idea is born out of having read a series of articles in several magazines. Puting the idea together is problem of working out the project in such logical way so it has credibility to be presented to possible sponsors and collaborators, the problem, how to make it go beyond an idea.  I am the son of a famous architect, I have learned that you can make a cardboard model in order to become a 20 story building. I did the cardboard model.



There was the starting of raising the funds and for that some sketches were comissioned to be drawn by Edgar Cano. The sketches were renderings of a very imaginary satellite. It did not have anything to do with scale, or with technical specs. It was only to give some sort of shape to Ulises. Again it had to do with following architectural procedure, the first renders of any building never look that the final  building. Negotiations to get some capital started in the Festival of Mexico City with Gerardo Estrada its director and they promised the original seed capital. 4 weeks later they defaulted their payment, cancelling in the last minute. 8th of February of 2011, was the darkest moment in the history of the project. It was a moment in which I had serious consideration in calling the project off. There had been a lot of negotiations based on the reciprocity of that capital. It meant to lose face from the very beginning of the adventure. When you are in minus 25 thousand dollars, you reconsider the value of everything yu are doing. Parts were ordered, the launching space had been bought, it was a mess. It took a few hours of consideration to realize that when launching something to space failure is not an option. It only seems simple, as the project developed other concepts were learned, one of them, "the worst is yet to come". Launching a satellite is also a philosophical experience that its success has to do with faith and sense of humor.



February 2011

There is a restaurant and pharmacy in Mexico called Sanborns, it is a meeting point for people of certain age. There is certain humor in finding a magazine to build satellites in a place where only people over 40 meet.

I find a magazine article in Scientific American: "Satellites, do it yourself".


Through the past few years I had organized an event called ECAM, meeting of Art and Science, I had invited many people to talk in Mexico City, among them Guillermo Trotti and Deva Newman. People very involved in the space program. Deva invited me to show my model of Ulises at MIT in a small exhibit about exploration, photography, glass worlds and space, part of a bigger celebration on exploration and the 150 years of MIT. It was an amazing event, I can not thank them enough the invitation. I needed to get a feel of what space is all about. I found a brotherhood of very enthusiastic people, ready to go to Mars, to launch missions, to find new planets, people speaking from submarines. The emotion of each one of them, their excitement to break any future obstacle. The emotional learning of three days can not be described.

To set in context this photograph, form Left to right, Diana Cabeza and Jorge Hampton are friends of Guillermo. She is an industrial designer and Jorge is an Architect, both of them were there to participate in a seminar on creativity, art and design. Guillermo Trotti is a space architect and a specialist in extreme environments, he has been involved in designs for the International Space Station and the Antartica Base; next to him Mrs Aldrin and Buzz Aldrin, needles to point out that he was the second man to step into the moon in the historic Apollo 11 mision and now he is proposing new manned missions to Mars. Deva Newman in working in a new prototype of a space suit. Next to Deva is me, just holding my camera and smiling. Next to me is Michael Massimino, he has been in charge of repairing the Hubble in two ocassions.



In May 2011 we had a Baby Shower celebration. The first pieces of the satellite arrived in Mexico.



We met in March of 2011 in Paris

Gerard Auvray is the designer of the Tube Sat being used to build Ulises I . The idea was to be able to visualize the type of lab we needed to have back in Mexico.

I had approached UNAM, the National University to get certain guidence in the best way to design the process of engineering, the lab needed to build something like this. I was recommended by Sergio Autrey to meet Dr Landeros, an engineer and satellite expert from the UNAM (national University), his view was that we needed a "clean room", army quality materials, specialized testing, more sensors, stabilizing gear, etc.

Mexicans have the tendency to make things as complicated as possible. On the other hand, there is the vice to try to skip technological steps in any development. My idea was a lot simpler, let´s try to launch a satellite that its life cycle is only 4 months.

That meeting with Gerard was a milestone of technological and know how transfer. It allowed me to visualize the attitude to follow, who could be the correct engineers, the right spirit to the mission, the right place to build it.

In this meeting I realized for the first time that it was possible the horizon of the building of Ulises I.

In the picture he is showing me a replica of the Sputnik built by himself.



Paris, March 2011

The Committee for the Cultural Utilisation of Space (ITACCUS) seeks to promote and facilitate the innovative utilisation of space (data, systems, applications) by organisations in the cultural sectors of society internationally, including all areas of the arts and humanities, including the fine arts, entertainment, popular culture and tourism.

I was named a member of ITACCUS to represent The Mexican Space Collective and become a liason to PLAY! Festival and other events that could involve science and art. ITACCUS has endorsed this project.

In the photograph, from left to right, Marko Peljam, Rob La Fresnais (Arts Catalyst), blonde woman, Tyler Stallings, Nicola Triscot, Nahum Mantra, I do not remember her name and Roger Malina.


Words and language need to be coherent, it does not matter how much technology we have, the limits of technology is ourselves, our imagination or our capacity of communication.

The letter of the Mexican Space Agency is the reply of our presentation of Ulises I and an invitation to the opening of the exhibit to the Fonoteca. The reply from them asks me to be aware of the posting of a future director in order for me to be eligible for "employment".


The other letter in from the Council of Science and Technology is a reply from a letter inviting them to participate in the project. They write: "it is not of our interest"



The Mexican Space Collective (2010) was formed one year before the Mexican Space Agency (2011). Nonetheless I immediately tried to generate some sort of a relationship leting them know what the project was about and trying to figure out how to work with them. Even inviting the to the first show at la Fonoteca Nacional. I have the first letter they replied to, leting me know that if there were any job available they would let me know.

In this photograph, we are in the first meeting of the Mexican Space Agency, with the whole community of people that have to do with space in Mexico. We were put in the list by a gentleman whose name is Alonso Picazo. It is a funny anecdote that we reached there because of Picazo. Our three minute presentation was about our pattern of thinking, how our objective is the creation of the samellest cell to get something into space.



Mojave Space Port is the place with the largest investment in private capital in companies interested in space. This photograph shows Ulises I, me and teh CEO of IOS, Randa Milliron and a test rocket similar to the one that will be used to launc Ulises I. This is a visit to Interorbital Systems to buy the space in a launch scheduled (originally for 2011) by the end of 2013 or early 2014.


April 2013

We have put together the final engineering team, the team in charge of integrating all the elements of the mission. For that we are working at the Naotional Institute of Astro Physics Optics and Electronics.

We can see in the board the drawing of the schematics of the mission.



December 2012 - May 2013

We have been approached by UNAM (National University), CAT (Center of high technology), to form an interdisciplinary team witn experts in space technology and artists to do the next generation of cultural satellites, we have gotten a grant from the Counci of Technology through the specialized network of science and technology of space to start our next mission: ULISES 2.0, the photographer.

In the photograph is the new team getting together for the first time at Centro Multimedia.

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Acknowledgements & Credits

Storyline by Juan José Díaz Infante

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