Spanish rocket startup PLD Space aborted the debut launch of its reusable suborbital Miura 1 rocket only seconds before liftoff on Saturday, June 17. The eagerly anticipated launch at the Arenosillo facility in Huelva, southwest Spain was unfortunately halted just as the countdown reached T-0, with the rocket’s engines firing up for a fleeting moment.
Raúl Torres, the brains behind PLD Space, dropped a tweet to keep us up to date. An examination would be done, and they’d share a new launch date soon. He said the prep-work went off without a hitch; but sadly, umbilical cords weren’t let go on time from the rocket’s tech bay. So, they had no other choice than to abort the blastoff. Torres gave the green light for the new launch date, however he highlighted that it would only go ahead if there were clear skies. This was because a previous attempt had been delayed due to strong gusts of wind. But despite this obstacle, he wholeheartedly backed his team’s skills and tenacity; emphasizing their resolve to prevail.
The Miura 1 rocket, once known as Arion 1, stands tall at 41 feet. And it has the strength to bear a payload of 200 lbs. If everything works out, retrieving it from the sea would be Europe’s first major success in obtainable rocket technology.
Although the Miura 1 is primarily a testbed, PLD Space plans to employ the same technology on a larger scale with its Miura 5 rocket. The Miura 5 is designed to launch small satellite payloads to low Earth orbit from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana. Utilizing a proprietary liquid-propellant engine called Teprel-B, the rocket employs a combination of liquid oxygen and kerosene as its fuel.
Founded in 2011 by Raúl Torres and COO Raúl Verdú, PLD Space aims to drive space innovation in Europe. The company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Arianespace, Europe’s sole operational launch provider, as well as UK rocket firm Orbex.
While the rescheduled launch date remains uncertain, the European Space Agency (ESA) will undoubtedly be eagerly awaiting PLD Space’s next attempt. With Arianespace’s Ariane 5 rocket scheduled for one final launch, Europe’s operational rocket capabilities will be temporarily halted until the delayed launch of Ariane 6.
As we await further updates from PLD Space and Europe’s space industry, the anticipation for Europe’s first reusable rocket launch continues to grow.