Miura 1 paves the way for private microlaunchers in Europe

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The Spanish startup PLD Space, which targets the market for satellite launches weighing less than 500 kg, successfully conducted the demonstration flight of the first stage of its Miura 5 microlauncher.

Prefiguration of an orbital launcher

On October 7, the Castilian startup PLD Space (created in 2017) successfully completed the first suborbital flight of its launcher Miura 1single-stage and recoverable.

She thus opened the ball of microlaunchers private in Europeoutdoing its main competitors.

Miura 1 measures 12.5 m high and 70 cm in diameter, and weighs 2,550 kg at takeoff.

This is the foreshadowing of the reusable microlauncher Miura 5which targets the market for satellites weighing less than 500 kg.

The components of PLD Space’s future orbital launcher will be 70% common with those of the current suborbital launcher.

The first test flights of the latter are due to start in 2025 from the Guiana Space Center, for commercial operation from the following year.

Never two without three

The Miua 1 flight tests are taking place in Andalusiafrom the El Arenosillo sounding rocket launch site in Huelva, facing the Atlantic.

Two launch attempts were cut short earlier in the year, for weather reasons and then because of a technical problem that occurred less than a second before H0.

Then, activities had to be suspended during the summer, to avoid any risk of fire during periods of drought.

The third time was good.

Objectives validated

The flight of Miura 1, broadcast live on YouTube, began at 00:19 UTC.

It lasted 306 seconds, peaking at approximately 47 km altitude.

It made it possible to validate all the objectives: operation of the engine, behavior of the launcher and compliance with the trajectory.

The day after the flight, PLD Space published an initial report on X (ex-Twitter): “We managed to validate all of the Miura 1 technologies in flight, while maximizing safety. We have collected a huge amount of data, which will allow us to improve and advance the technologies of Miura 5 more quickly. The secondary objectives of the mission have all been covered, including aerodynamic validation and launcher control at the reentry, as well as parachute ejection and final braking. However, it was not possible to complete this historic mission with the recovery of Miura 1 from the ocean. »

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