This is how the Miura 1, the Spanish rocket that will rival Elon Musk, will take off from Andalusia

The launch day of the Miura 1 rocket is drawing near and with it the official presentation at the launch pad in El Arenosillo (Huelva). There, the launch of the vehicle that arrived a few days ago from the PLD Space operations center in Elche has just been carried out. For the moment, the date of the first takeoff attempt remains secret and it is only known that it will be at dawn in order to interfere as little as possible with air traffic in the area.

The Miura 1 has established itself as the first suborbital launcher designed, developed and built by a private company in Europe. And it opens the door to a new era of national space exploration. “If not too long ago, the idea of ​​a powerful and competitive aerospace industry in Spain seemed like a chimera, today no one can deny that it is already a reality”, declared President Pedro Sánchez, who was accompanied at the event by Diana Morant , Minister of Science and Innovation.

The institutional part is also represented at the location of the Miura 1 operations center. The El Arenosillo facilities are owned by INTA (National Institute for Aerospace Technology), which has been launching sounding rockets there since the 1970s.

Miura 1 during its presentation in Huelva

PLD Space

They have everything necessary to guarantee flight safetymanage the air and maritime space and to manage all the security forces”, declared Raúl Verdú, co-founder of PLD Space, in an interview with EL ESPAÑOL – Omicrono. The company’s next objective is to complete the development of the reusable Miura rocket 5, which aims to put satellites into orbit with a development and engineering scheme similar to that used by Elon Musk at SpaceX.


For this launcher, the company has opted for a mobile launch pad system that is integrated into a truck trailer for transport. The metal structure is placed in an area specifically built with a large pit where all the water vapor will dissipate generated by contact with engine exhaust gases.

The moat will also allow deflect some of the noise and energy generated during engine ignition and takeoff. Around the launch area they have also arranged some small infrastructure and equipment to supply kerosene, liquid oxygen, water, high-pressure helium and nitrogen to the rocket. All these compounds will be used both before and during the launch of the Miura 1.

Pedro Sánchez and Diana Morant with the PLD Space staff in the control center

Pedro Sánchez and Diana Morant with the PLD Space staff in the control center

PLD Space

A second work area is in charge of supplying the fluids, electrical power and communications to the launcher. All these systems are integrated into ship containers that house all the equipment and that have been specially designed to resist if something goes wrong, as indicated by Raúl Verdú, co-founder of PLD Space.

After the public presentation of the rocket, PLD Space engineers will carry out maintenance and preparation work for the launch inside the hangar arranged in El Arenosillo. There they will make some delicate propellant load and pressure tests before finally placing the Miura 1 on the launch pad.

Once there, a series of tests will be carried out which, if successful, will certify the rocket for flight. One of the most critical is the so-called Wet Dress Rehearsal which consists of fully loading propellants and following all launch steps prior to engine ignition.

The final essay, also known hot testis a static fire test in which the engine will ignite for 5 seconds and it will serve to give the final green light to the launch. Finally, INTA and PLD Space will formalize the flight review and it will be ready to execute its first takeoff.

PLD Space team during rocket tests at Teruel Airport

PLD Space team during rocket tests at Teruel Airport

PLD Space

Before reaching the peak moment, the integration of the payload in the rocket bonnet. The Elche microlauncher will transport an experiment from the German Center for Applied Technology and Microgravity, belonging to the University of Bremen. With the aim of testing some of their technologies in microgravity.

maiden flight

Although the date has not yet been revealed, from PLD Space they comment that in April and May the company has different flight windows assigned by the Ministry of Defense for the Miura 1. These reserved windows must coincide with the technical availability of the rocket and with good weather conditions. The launch requires a surface wind speed of less than 20 km/h, a calm atmosphere of high winds and the absence of potential storms in the vicinity.

Miura 1 in the test area of ​​the Teruel Airport

Miura 1 in the test area of ​​the Teruel Airport

PLD Space

“If during the launch procedure, which lasts about 10 hours, a minimal risk factor is detected; the operation of that day will be aborted and the next flight window will start from scratch“, explains Raúl Torres. “Our goal is to achieve a milestone for Spain and Europe, but we still have everything to prove,” concludes Ezequiel Sánchez, executive president of PLD Space. “We know that many challenges await us, although we are certain that We will be able to solve them.”

The Miura 1 has 12 meters long by 70 centimeters in diameter and weighs almost 3 tons at takeoff. From the company they hope to reach the border that separates the atmosphere and space, at about 100 kilometers of altitude thanks to a single on-board engine. The payload that the rocket can carry is 100 kilograms, although in the case of the maiden flight with the German experiment it is almost empty.

During the entire process of preparation and launch of the rocket, no one will be in the launch area. As with other space facilities, all mission control is done remotely. In the case of El Arenosillo, the personnel will be located some 5.5 kilometers from the takeoff site and will use the INTA and Ministry of Defense systems for monitoring.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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