PLD Space has achieved a new milestone with their official presentation in Madrid of the company’s MIURA 1 rocket that has been exhibited fully assembled for the first time in the capital’s National Museum of Natural Science — this suborbital vehicle is a key step in launch vehicle development, a pathfinder for MIURA 5 development.
From the start, the objective of PLD Space has been to become the European Microlauncher Company, a reference within the sector through the use of reusable rockets dedicated to the launch of smallsats. This vision has been maintained through the different stages of the project and is now being achieved, as Raúl Torres, CEO and Cofounder, has demonstrated during the official inauguration of MIURA 1. He said, “We have always being clear that we wanted to take advantage of the business opportunities in the space sector and contribute to its democratization, paving the way for new players in this increasingly thriving industry that will play a key role in the coming years.”
Raúl Verdú, COO and Co-founder of PLD Space, has underlined the support shown by numerous investors, in both public and private institutions, that have come together to make a “Made-in-Spain” space project a reality. “The support of institutions such as CDTI, ENISA, and the IVF, has been key; they have co-financed the last 10 years of development along with our private investors. We are proud to have financed the first private space launch service enterprise within our country.”
Ezequiel Sánchez, Executive President of PLD Space, highlighted the “strategic advantage for Spain to become the fourteenth country with access to space, as this select group of nations will play a crucial geostrategic role for Europe”. He has also underlined the effect it will have on Spain from an industrial perspective, because “our business model integrated throughout the value chain will allow us to have an autonomy that will be crucial in order to address the future of science and national industry”. “This without a team of passionate people would not have been possible. It is clear that we have grown with the right team. And now, we have the right team.”
MIURA 1 will return to the PLD Space base at Teruel Airport to carry out combined qualification testing at stage level, including full-mission duration hot test of the complete stage. After these tests, the stage will be shipped to the launch base to perform a combined test with all the ground segment and ground infrastructure, before launch.
MIURA 1 launch is expected for the second half of 2022, which it will be the first launch mission of a European rocket in history, designed to reach a maximum altitude of 150 km and with the capacity to carry a payload of up to 100 kg.
PLD Space is also working on its first MIURA 5 reusable orbital rocket, which is expected to be ready to carry out its first mission in July of 2024 and which will mark the start of the firm’s commercial satellite launches.
The first launch vehicle to fly will be MIURA 5 block 1.0, a fully expendable version that will comprise the first two launches. After those flights, the company will introduce a reusable version for the subsequent flights, paving the way for a commercial reusable booster in Europe. This stage will implement all lesson learned from ESA´s Future Launchers Preparatory Program (FLPP) contracts, called Liquid Propulsion Stage Recovery (LPSR) 1 and LPSR2.
PLD Space is a pioneering Spanish company in the aerospace sector and a reference within Europe in the development of reusable rockets, with a recognized prestige in the sector and a solid project that has become a reality through its launch vehicles: the MIURA 1 suborbital and MIURA 5 orbital rockets, which will place Spain among the few countries with the capacity to successfully send small satellites to space. With a decade of history, PLD Space plans to launch its MIURA 1 prototype in the second half of 2022 and tackle its first real space transport mission with MIURA 5 in 2024. The firm, based in Elche (Alicante) and with technical facilities in Teruel, Huelva and French Guiana, has already achieved more than €36 million of investment to drive forward its project in the space sector.