The shutdown was not due to an engine failure, as many media have said

The failure of the second attempt to launch the Spanish Miura 1 rocket rigorously explained

In the early hours of last Saturday, June 17, the second attempt to launch the Spanish Miura 1 rocket was carried out.

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As you were able to read here on May 23rd, this rocket is an initiative of the Spanish company PLD Space, founded in 2011 by Raúl Torres, Raúl Verdú and José Enrique Martínez. The two launch attempts carried out so far have been carried out at the El Arenosillo Experiment Center (Huelva), belonging to the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), under the Ministry of Defence. In this second launch it took the end of the countdown and the ignition, but then the engine had a shutdown, something that many media have attributed to an engine failure, which is not true.

Raúl Torres himself, executive director of PLD Space, explained that same morning that the engine shutdown was an automatic abort "due to the NO release of the avionics umbilicals, the rest were free and the engine at nominal thrust." So the whole process worked perfectly up to that point, which is a remarkable success.

Torres explained a few hours later: "It's still too early to get the final conclusions, we continue working on it, but we are clear that the Helium umbilical had a delay in the release of about 100 milliseconds... This fact caused the "delay" between it and the avionics umbilicals to interrogate loose/not loose overlapped, and coincided. In this situation, the ground software aborted the takeoff safely. We were less than half a second from taking off (nominal thrust 3.85s and release at 4.3s). The check routines in that critical time of <0.5s aborted our takeoff."

It must be taken into account that this type of problem is very common in rocket launches, especially when we are talking about a company that is attempting to launch its first rocket, in which optimal conditions are sought to be able to better assess any failure. On this matter, Control de Misión, a Spanish channel specialized in the space sector, has published today a rigorous video explaining clearly and seriously what happened in the second attempt to launch the Miura 1 (the video is in Spanish, you can activate the automatic subtitles in English in the bottom bar of the player):

The work done by communicators like the author of Control de Misión is appreciated to provide serious information on a subject like this. Hopefully most of the media have the detail to report more rigorously on upcoming launch attempts. For Spain it should be a source of pride to have a company like PLD Space , which is capable of going so far in the process of launching a space rocket, and it would be appreciated if the media were up to the task of the precision and professionalism that this company is demonstrating.


Images: PLD Space.

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