HUELVA – After three failed attempts earlier this year, the Spanish company PLD Space has made history by successfully launching the Miura 1, the first private rocket developed and launched from Europe.
The company describes the 306-second flight as “a dream come true.” The launch took place at 2.19 am from the Centro de Experimentación de El Arenosillo of the Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), near the Médano del Loro military base. “We did it and we made history,” said Raúl Torres, a founding partner of PLD Space and launch director.
Scientific and commercial opportunities
With this launch, the company has joined a select group of 10 countries that are capable of not only building their own rockets but also launching them from their own territories. The company now aims to triple its workforce and hopes to launch satellites of various sizes into space in the future. Moreover, this is an industry that is becoming increasingly important in this new space age.
Ideal conditions in Huelva
The choice of El Arenosillo in Huelva as a launch pad is not accidental. The Andalucian province offers ideal weather conditions for spaceflight 85% of the year. Previous attempts to launch the Miura 1 were hampered by rain and strong winds. However, now the weather was favourable for this historic launch.
Financing and future plans
PLD Space has raised over €60 million in a recent investment round. It is also receiving financial support from the Spanish government. The company is now focused on developing a larger rocket, the Miura 5. This is expected to conduct regular launches in 2024.