PLD Space Gets 1m Euro Contract From ESA to Make Miura 5 First Stage Reusable6th Jun 2021
PLD Space just won a 1 million euro contract from the European Space Agency. According to this contract, PLD will be looking for ways to ensure the increased performance of ESA’s Miura 5 rocket. In particular, PLD will need to find an efficient way to reuse this rocket’s first liquid propulsion stage. The contract, Recovery of Liquid Propulsion Stage 2, is the continuation of a similar agreement signed in 2017. The latter was signed as part of ESA’s Future Launcher Preparation Program.
PLD Space Plans on Fulfilling the Contract
To fulfill this contract, PLD Space will need to conduct three separate studies. The first one, Propulsion braking on re-entry, will be aimed at optimising and reducing rocket entry trajectory. Right now, the trajectory necessary for first stage separation is 700 km, but the company hopes to reduce it by half.
The second study, Propulsion braking and course change, will optimise the first stage landing. PLD hopes to offer a solution for the Miura 5 first-stage to land near the spaceport – preferably onto a special platform.
The third and final study aims at rocket ascent optimisation. PLD Space will try to reduce the parabolic flight after the rocket separates its second stage.
Pre-Study Preparation & Additional Technologies
Before getting started with the three studies mentioned above, PLD Space will need to assess and analyse regulations at the European Spaceport in French Guiana, where Miura 5 carries out its launches. The analysis will have to do with both ground operations and launch requirements.
Besides, the company is determined to explore additional technologies that could lead to Miura 5 first-stage optimisation. As PLD Space representatives explain, they will consider the existing experience of the FLPP-LPSR project while searching for the most effective ways to make the first stage of Miura 5 reusable.