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This article was published on March 20, 2023

Spanish startup wants to launch the first private reusable rocket from Western Europe

The so-called Miura 1 will also enable microgravity research

Spanish startup wants to launch the first private reusable rocket from Western Europe

As Europe ramps up its efforts in launching commercial rockets into space, Elche-based startup PLD Space wants to put Spain on the map. The company plans to launch the first private reusable rocket from Western Europe.

Named after a famous breed of bull in Spain’s bullfighting tradition, the Miura 1 rocket is set for its maiden voyage later this year, although the launch date hasn’t been specified.

Miura 1 was unveiled on March 11, touted by Spain’s Prime Minister as an important development that will put the country “at the vanguard of this emerging but potent industry.”

PLD Space aims to launch the rocket at a designated site in Hueva in Southern Spain, and is already conducting pre-flight tests.

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Miura 1 is a suborbital microlauncher, privately developed in Europe and designed with a twofold mission in mind: delivering commercial payloads to space and back, and enabling research and technology development in microgravity conditions.

The mirolauncher features four payload compartments and has a cargo capacity of 100kg. Miura 1’s standard flight duration is 12 minutes, and it can travel up to a height of 150km — its peak of suborbital flight.

Miura 1 can spend three to four minutes in microgravity, and it needs four hours to recover the payload after the flight. According to the startup, it will do four missions per year.

The expected launch will mark another significant step in bolstering Spain’s international position in space. Last November, the European Space Agency recruited the first two Spanish astronauts in 30 years, while in March, the country launched its own state space agency with an initial budget of over 700 million for this year.

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