Spanish startup goals for essential rocket launch for Western Europe

As Europe ramps up its efforts in launching commercial rockets into space, Elche-based startup PLD Space aims to put Spain on the map. The company plans to launch the first private reusable rocket from Western Europe.

Named after a famous breed of bull in Spanish bullfighting tradition, the Miura 1 rocket is slated to make its maiden voyage later this year, although the launch date has not yet been set.

Miura 1 was unveiled on March 11 and touted by the Spanish Prime Minister as a major development that will put the country “at the forefront of this emerging but powerful industry”.

Welcome MIURA 1 ♥️

— PLD Space (@PLD_Space) March 11, 2023

PLD Space intends to launch the rocket from a designated location in Hueva, southern Spain, and is already conducting pre-flight tests.

Activities at our base in Huelva are hectic.

We started pre-flight testing of MIURA 1 in a unique environment and for now everything is going according to plan 🌅🚀 #VAMOSMIURA1 #MIURA1

— PLD Space (@PLD_Space) March 16, 2023

Miura 1 is a suborbital micro launcher privately developed in Europe and designed with a dual mission: to carry commercial payloads to and from space and to enable research and technological development under microgravity conditions.

The Mirolauncher has four payload compartments and has a loading capacity of 100 kg. Miura 1’s standard flight duration is 12 minutes and it can fly to an altitude of 150 km – the peak of suborbital flight.

Miura 1 can spend three to four minutes in zero gravity and takes four hours to recover the payload after flight. According to the startup, it will do four missions a year.

The expected launch will mark another significant step in strengthening Spain’s international position in space. Last November, the European Space Agency recruited the first two Spanish astronauts in 30 years, while in March the country launched its own state space agency with an initial budget of over 700 million for this year.

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