Miura 1: Europe’s First Private Reusable Rocket Launch in Spain
Europe witnessed its first-ever private, reusable rocket “Miura 1” launched by PLD Space from a site in southwestern Spain. Tall as a three-storey building, Miura 1 carried a payload for test purposes. The rocket didn’t get that high but performed quite well.
Raul Torres, chief executive of PLD Space, expressed triumph and excitement. He said the rocket systems worked perfectly, achieved 100 percent of the objectives in the ascent and re-entry, meaning Miura 1 is capable of reaching space.
Torres said their main objective was to verify the operation of key technologies in flight. This included the thrust profile of the engine under flight conditions, the aerodynamic behavior of the launcher, the tracking of the nominal trajectory, the nominal behavior of all subsystems under real conditions, and exposure to real space conditions.
What is Miura 1?
This is Europe’s first rocket that’s fully reusable or recoverable. According to PLD Space, Miura 1 is a suborbital launch vehicle, privately developed in Europe.
It’s the first space system designed by PLD Space to take payloads into space and bring them back safely. This is Europe’s effort to push forward scientific research and technology development under microgravity conditions.
PLD said this will allow the collection of the largest volume of flight information possible in order to obtain data that will determine the validation and design of the technology, and potential improvements or changes in the development that will later be transferred and integrated into the Miura 5 orbital launcher.
Europe aims to launch Miura 5, which features a reusable first stage, by 2024 or 2025. It will fly from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Europe Space Ambitions
Europe is striving to catch up with other countries like the US, China and India in terms of space. It wants to send small satellites into space. Its last attempt was unsuccessful by Virgin Orbit from Britain in January.
All eyes are now on Miura 5 which is regarded as critical for Europe’s ambitions. Dr Josef Aschbacher, European Space Agency (ESA) Director, said Europe has 17 percent share in the global space economy. He believes there’s a lot of potential and capabilities in Europe.