The American company SpaceX has launched a successful space race. There is a Spanish company that seeks to follow in his footsteps.
PLD Space was founded in 2011 by Raúl Torres, Raúl Verdú and José Enrique Martínez. It is based in Elche (Alicante), and in the next few days expects to carry out the launch of the test flight of its first rocket, the Miura 1, from its launch base at the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (Huelva), belonging to the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), an entity under the Spanish Ministry of Defence. It is an ideal place for this type of launch due to its good weather conditions.
The Miura 1 has a length of 12.7 meters, a diameter of 70 centimeters and a mass of 2,550 kg. It has a single phase and a single TEPREL engine powered by a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen. It is designed to be reusable and has four compartments with a load capacity of 100 kg. In addition to the aforementioned contribution from the Ministry of Defense through INTA, the recovery test of this rocket was made in 2019 with a CH-47D Chinook helicopter from the Transport Helicopter Battalion V (BHELTRA V) of the Spanish Army Airmobile Forces (FAMET).
The first flight of the Miura 1 will be suborbital up to a peak of 150 kilometers. If successful, Spain will have a private company capable of launching payloads into space. In addition, the Miura 1 could be the first European reusable rocket, quite a milestone for Spain. When the launch date is confirmed, you can watch it live on PLD Space Youtube channel< /a> (I recommend you subscribe).
PLD Space's objective with Miura 1 is to carry out the necessary tests for the future launch of Miura 5, a larger rocket that will make orbital flights. It will be 29.4 meters long, 1.8 meters in diameter, will have two or three stages and will be able to put a payload of up to 300 kg into orbit. With the Miura 5, Spain could have an excellent spacecraft for launching small satellites for companies and institutions that need them. The launch of the Miura 5 is scheduled to be done from the Kourou Spaceport, in French Guyana, from where the European Space Agency launches.
On this project, I recommend you watch this video by the aerospace engineer Sergio Hidalgo, which explains in great detail what the Miura 1 is like (the video is in Spanish, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):
Also, here you can see a video from PLD Space that shows what the launch of the Miura 5 would be like:
Main image PLD Space. An artist's recreation of the Miura 1 rocket.
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