The first Miura 1 flight unit, the first private rocket fully developed in Spain by the Alicante-based company PLD Space, has already been transferred from the company’s facilities to the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (Cedea) in Huelva and is being prepared thus for its launch, which is scheduled for the second quarter of this 2023.
The company has reported that after successfully completing the manufacturing and integration phases, the suborbital micro launcher of the Spanish company “is ready to start the flight demonstration campaign”. However, the vehicle first has to undergo a series of tests in the launch base at the facilities of the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (Cedea) of the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA), belonging to the Ministry of Defense.
Thus, and once these tests have been passed, the company has different flight windows in the coming months. The mission, which will last several months, will culminate in what will be the first launch of a private rocket in Europe.
Therefore, the company assures that it has “successfully” completed this phase of the program and has proceeded to transfer the demonstrator microlauncher next to the ramp from its Elche factory to the Huelva facilities. the space vehicle is already at the launch baseready for the start of the flight test campaign.
In this sense, the company has focused its efforts in recent months on the manufacturing and fine-tuning of its demonstrator rocket. These works have incorporated the improvements learned in the Miura 1 qualifying campaign that ended last September with the “successful test” of the flight mission at the company’s test bench in Teruel.
Likewise, the company details that in these phases of design and production of the flight unit, the team has had to “face certain differences with respect to the previously manufactured test unit.” Among them is “the material of the structure itself (it passes from steel to aluminum), as well as the recovery bay (which in the flight unit includes the flaps, speedbrakes or parachutes) or the payload bay, which now incorporates all the mechanical, electrical and electronic interfaces that make it possible to house the microloads of the customers”.
In parallel, the company has also completed the manufacture and tests of the ramp which serves both as a trailer for the transfer of the rocket and as a launch ramp. Likewise, the construction and preparation works of the Cedea facilities in Huelva have been completed, so that PLD Space will become “the first private operator to use a port space in Europe”.
“in that area there was no infrastructure to be able to launch Miura 1. Over the last few months, we have adapted the area and built all the necessities of the launch pad, which has already been accepted to host the rocket”, said the co-founder and launch director of PLD Space, Raúl Towers.
On the other hand, the company has explained that the Miura 1 launch mission comprises “a series of maintenance and preparation work” of the rocket in the El Arenosillo hangar, as well as different tests at the Médano del Loro launch base. During these weeks, the payload of the first client, the German Center for Applied Technology and Microgravity (ZARM)belonging to the University of Bremen.
Subsequently, PLD Space has different Miura 1 flight windows during which the launch will take place, which will be conditioned by the zone securityweather conditions and the availability of the rocket itself.
The ultimate goal is to carry out a first flight test to validate the technology developed to date in real conditions. During the following Miura 1 launches, the flight requirements will be expanded until valid knowledge and experience are obtained to transfer to the orbital rocket that the company is already developing, Miura 5and which will fly from French Guiana at the end of 2024.