The Spanish rocket Miura 1 is preparing for launch

This Saturday saw the official presentation of the Miura 1, the first Spanish rocket, at its launch base at the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (CEDEA) owned by the National Institute of Aerospace Technology (INTA) on the coast of Huelva, near Mazagon.

The flight demonstration campaign for this suborbital microlauncher begins, which will take place at the Centro Experimental de El Arenosillo (Huelva)

The rocket developed it PLD spacea young Spanish company with headquarters in Elche (Alicante) and facilities in Teruel, Huelva and French Guiana, which has secured over 60 million euros in investment to promote its space project.

Together with the company’s founders, Raúl Torres and Raúl Verdú, its executive chairman, Ezequiel Sánchez, the event brought together the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez; the Minister of Science, Diana Morant; the General Secretary of Innovation, Teresa Riesgo; the commissioner of PERTE Aeroespacial, Miguel Belló; the general director of INTA, lieutenant general Julio Ayuso Miguel, among others.

“We make progress when we bet on the power of science and knowledge, to build a more prosperous, autonomous and advanced society”, underlined the President of the Government, in addition to recalling “that not long ago the idea of ​​a powerful and competitive in Spain it seemed like a chimera, but today nobody can deny that it is already a reality”.

Group photo during the Miura 1 launch day at its launch base in Huelva. / PLD space

PLD Space started working on this project 12 years ago and, according to Verdú, now “our suborbital rocket Miura 1 will serve to demonstrate more than 70% of the technology of the sustainable orbital launcher Miura 5, of which, before the end of the decade, we will offer more of 14 launches per year. Its cost is competitive thanks to the in-house manufacturing of all subsystems and our recovery and reuse technology”.

MIURA 1 test flight campaign

With this public performance, the suborbital rocket flight demonstration campaign began. The next stage will take place in the company’s hangar in El Arenosillo, where maintenance work and preparation for launch will be carried out, ranging from pressure tests to propellant loading. When these tasks are completed, they will be assembled on the ramp and transferred to the nearby launch pad in Médano del Loro.

One of the most critical tests will be the full thruster load test, which includes all launch stages prior to engine start.

Already on the platform from which the Miura 1 will fly, tests will be carried out to certify that the rocket is ready for flight. One of the most critical will be the full thruster load test, which includes all launch stages prior to engine start.

Subsequently, the final test will be carried out: the static firing test, where the rocket engine will turn on for five seconds and will serve to give the go-ahead for launch. At this time, INTA and PLD Space will formalize the formal flight review, which will formalize the preparation of Miura 1 for its first launch.

The demonstrator microlauncher will carry an experiment by the German Center for Applied Technology and Microgravity

But before the flight, it will be time to integrate the payload into the rocket’s hood. The demonstrator microlauncher will carry out an experiment by the German Center for Applied Technology and Microgravity (ZARM), belonging to the University of Bremen, with the aim of verifying in microgravity conditions some of the technologies that this scientific institution has created for the space industry.

So yes, the time will come and the milestone between INTA, PLD Space and the rest of the teams involved to authorize the flight will be formalized: the formal launch review.

Test flight development

During the months of April and May, PLD Space has different Miura 1 flight windows granted by the Spanish Ministry of Defense. In addition to the security of the area, the launch is subject to the availability of the rocket itself and weather conditions, as a surface wind speed of less than 20 km/h, a calm atmosphere of strong winds and Absence of potential storms in the areas are required. nearby.

Once prep and testing work is complete, there are different release windows between April and May.

“If during the launch procedure, which lasts about 10 hours, a minimum risk factor is detected, the operation for that day will be aborted and the next flight window will start from zero”, explains Torres, who clarifies: “We always prefer to delay the escape to finish off a dismantled rocket”.

All this implies that the company generates a margin of flight opportunities between April and May, a period that falls within the usual range in the space launch sector. “Our objective is to reach a milestone for Spain and Europe, but we still have everything to prove”, concludes Ezequiel Sánchez.

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