MIURA 1 SN1 Test Flight Mission ~ PLD Space successfully completes first private space rocket launch in Europe from CEDEA.
Press Release, Huelva, 07 October 2023: [auto-translated] The Spanish company PLD Space has made history after successfully completing the launch of a first private European rocket, MIURA 1. The inaugural flight of its suborbital launcher has demonstrated the high level of technology and knowledge developed by the company since 2011. This milestone strengthens PLD Space’s leadership position in the global space race while generating a national and European strategic capability.
The first launch of MIURA 1 took place at 02:19 CET (00:19 UTC) in the early hours of Saturday, October 7, at the facilities of the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (CEDEA), belonging to the National Institute of Aerospace Technology. (INTA). PLD Space has met the primary mission objectives related to engine thrust, trajectory tracking or launcher behaviour.
Specifically, the flight lasted 306 seconds in which MIURA 1 reached an apogee of 46 kilometres high. The mission has concluded with the launcher’s splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean and the PLD Space team will proceed with the recovery work in the next few hours.
The launch has also served to subject a technological device from the German Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) to microgravity conditions, which will apply all the information obtained during the flight to carry out future experiments.
After the detailed analysis of the mission, PLD Space will publicly communicate all the data obtained during this first flight test of MIURA 1.
After this historic milestone for Spain and Europe, the Launch Director and co-founder of PLD Space, Raúl Torres, highlights that “this launch is the result of more than 12 years of hard work, but it is only the beginning of what is to come.”
“Thanks to this experimental flight, we will be able to extract a large volume of information that will allow us to validate a large part of the design and technology that will serve as the basis for developing our orbital launcher, MIURA 5,” he comments.
Objective achieved: PLD Space, leader in launchers less than 500kg
The MIURA 1 is the first private rocket developed in Europe. It has been completely designed from scratch by PLD Space as a technology demonstrator with recovery and reuse requirements that only three companies in space history have achieved.
The launch of the MIURA 1 suborbital rocket occurs 12 years after the creation of PLD Space by Raúl Torres and Raúl Verdú. With this inaugural flight, the Spanish company marks a turning point in the European space race, where small satellites are revolutionising access to information to accelerate innovation in multiple sectors on Earth. With this launch, Spain becomes the tenth country in the world with direct space capability. With this launch, Spain becomes the tenth country in the world with direct space capability.
“This launch positions PLD Space as the reference company in the European space race. We have entered the space with much more determination than means, but we have achieved it,” says the company’s executive president, Ezequiel Sánchez. “The team’s satisfaction is contagious, in fact, the success of this mission is a shared achievement that includes our investors, partners and suppliers. And I want to make a special mention of INTA and the state security forces and bodies.”
A key mission for the development of MIURA 5
The head of Business Development and co-founder of PLD Space, Raúl Verdú, concludes: “With an eye on the immediate future, the success of a flight test of this magnitude is measured by how much we can learn, a knowledge that “It will improve our reliability and likelihood of success in the future.”
“We developed MIURA 1 to accelerate the technological development of MIURA 5 and, after the success of this mission, the team will be able to advance at high speed towards the first flight of MIURA 5: our ultimate goal,” he points out.
This first suborbital flight of MIURA 1 represents a turning point for the development of the MIURA 5 orbital launcher, since the information obtained will allow the validation of up to 70% of the design and technology that will subsequently be transferred and integrated into MIURA 5.
Currently, more than 90% of the team PLD Space is focused on the development of MIURA 5, whose first launch will take place at the European CSG spaceport in Kourou (French Guiana) in 2025, with the aim of starting commercial activity in 2026.