PLD Space, the Spanish space company, has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission to bring future satellite missions into Earth’s orbit.
This marks another success for the Spanish company following the successful launch of their Miura 1 rocket last October. The EC’s choice of PLD Space is a key part of the Flight Ticket Initiative, intended to create a group of private launch providers that can meet European space needs.
A unique player in Europe
PLD Space is the only Spanish company eligible for these prestigious contracts. It will compete with four other European companies selected by the ESA. These companies are Arianespace (France), Isar Aerospace (Germany), Orbex Space (United Kingdom), and Rocket Factory Augsburg (Germany). Raúl Verdú, co-founder of PLD Space, emphasises that this milestone positions the company as a unique player in the global commercial satellite launch industry.
The future of Miura 5
Following the success of Miura 1, PLD Space is now focusing on the launch of Miura 5. This launch is planned for the first quarter of 2026. This flight will be orbital. Additionally the company is aiming at commercially transporting small satellites, a growing segment in the new space age. Miura 5 can bring small satellites into low orbits between 400 and 800 kilometres in height. It has a potential of up to 15 flights per year. Due to the dimensions of the rocket (two metres in diameter and over 30 metres high), these launches will take place from the ESA spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Collaboration with French CNES
In June, PLD Space signed an agreement with the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), the French space agency, to launch Miura 5 from Kourou. This is one of the most sought-after launch locations among potential customers of the Spanish company. The agreement involves CNES providing the necessary facilities for launch. Among these are things like power supply and access controls. Furthermore PLD Space is responsible for developing the necessary infrastructure for integration, testing, and launching their rocket.
The missions under the Flight Ticket Initiative are focused on In-Orbit Demonstration and Validation (IOD/IOV), for testing and validating new technologies in space. Verdú emphasises the importance of this new step for the industry. Although there is still much to develop and achieve. With these developments, PLD Space firmly places Spain on the map in the world of commercial space travel.