Spanish company PLD Space to launch its suborbital rocket no earlier than September

27th Jun 2023
Spanish company PLD Space to launch its suborbital rocket no earlier than September

Updated on 27th June:

PLD Space announced the new date for its launch attempt. The company targets September as the new launch window after successfully completing all auto-sequencing procedures and aborting the attempt on 17 June. The company has agreed with the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) to schedule new launch windows starting next September.

As of Wednesday, 31st of May, Spanish startup PLD Space called off the test launch of its first suborbital reusable rocket scheduled, citing strong high-altitude winds.

PLD Space was formed in 2012, and after completing static fire tests last September (2022), its suborbital launch vehicle, MIURA 1, is ready to take flight. It will test the company’s technology and gain important data for future orbital flights.

PLD Space and its MIURA 1 rocket

The MIURA1 is designed for launching small payloads of up to 100 kilograms into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for microgravity research and technology development. The goal is for the fully integrated space system to take payloads to space and bring them back safely, the company says.

The test flight, the MIURA 1 SN1, was previously attempted the launch on Wednesday, 31st May, at 10 am CET (8 am GMT). However, the launch was postponed.

According to the announcement, the rocket was expected to be launched from the El Arenosillo test range located in the southwest of Spain, near Huelva.

Making way for the MIURA 5

The launch of this smaller vehicle is set to lay the groundwork for PLD to eventually blast off its largest rocket, the MIURA 5. MIURA 5 is PLD’s reusable orbital micro-launcher, which will be able to launch satellites of up to 500 kilograms into space, with a recoverable first stage.

“The 1st flight of our technological demonstrator MIURA 1 SN1 will allow us to gather as much data as possible for the validation and design of the technology that will be later transferred to and integrated in MIURA 5,” the company said.

In September 2022, Orbital Today reported on PLD Space putting Spain on the map, possibly ahead of the UK when it comes to launch. Now, as Virgin Orbit has officially collapsed and been sold for parts, Spain is a real contender in leading small satellite launches within Europe.

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