Spanish company turns its efforts to conclude the development of its reusable commercial launcher by the end of 2025

PLD wants its Miura 5 rocket to take off from French Guiana in early 2026

PHOTO/JPons - Los tres altos directivos de PLD. Raúl Verdú, director de desarrollo de negocio; Ezequiel Sanchez, presidente ejecutivo; y Raúl Torres, director de lanzamientos, anticipan que el primer vuelo del Miura 5 será a principios de 2026
PHOTO/JPons - PLD's three senior executives. Raúl Verdú, director of business development; Ezequiel Sanchez, executive president; and Raúl Torres, director of launches, anticipate that the first flight of the Miura 5 will be in early 2026

The co-founder of Spanish company PLD Space, Raúl Torres, has revealed that the maiden flight of its future Miura 5 commercial launcher, which the company wants to be Europe's first private space rocket, will take off "in the first quarter of 2026". 

In the absence of suitable facilities in Spain, it will be from the Kourou space base in French Guiana, a vast area in the middle of the Amazon rainforest next to the Atlantic coast. It is equipped by the French Space Agency (CNES) and the European Space Agency (ESA) to launch the future Ariane 6, the current Vega and Vega-C and, in the near future, a small number of so-called micro-launchers, such as the Miura 5. 

"For us, Kourou is our first spaceport and we are looking forward to flying from there," confirms Raúl Verdú, the company's Business Development Director and co-founder of the company in 2011, together with Raúl Torres. 

PHOTO/PLD Space - Una representación artística refleja cómo podrá ser la plataforma de lanzamiento del Miura 5 instalada en la base espacial de Kourou, en la Guayana francesa
PHOTO/PLD Space - An artist's rendering of the Miura 5 launch pad at the Kourou space base in French Guiana

But PLD is not content with just using the Guayana space base. Verdú says his company intends for the Miura 5 to be able to take off "from different places". "We are preparing a study of all the existing spaceports and those that are being finalised to deploy our launch capability in other geographies," he says. 

What is the status of the Miura 5 development? With two propulsion stages, six rocket engines in total and much larger and more powerful than the experimental Miura 1, Raúl Torres assures that its development is progressing "at a good pace in all the subsystems", that the tests "will begin at the end of this year", because "our commitment is that in two years it will be ready to launch". 

PHOTO/JPons - El director de desarrollo de negocio, Raúl Verdú, resalta que PLD tiene oportunidades comerciales por más de 320 millones de euros, con los que la compañía podría completar los primeros 10 o 12 lanzamientos
PHOTO/JPons - Business development director Raúl Verdú highlights that PLD has commercial opportunities for more than 320 million euros, with which the company could complete the first 10 to 12 launches

Building infrastructure for Miura 5 in French Guiana

The Miura 5 "is much more advanced than anyone can imagine". We have "a model already built, the rocket engines and turbo pumps are in the production process and the avionics and structures are very advanced," says Torres. 

If the forecasts are met, "it will be completed and will be ready to be shown in the last months of 2025", Torres anticipates. It will then be transferred to the Kourou base "for its maiden flight to take place in the first quarter of 2026. Those are the dates we are looking at today.

However, for the Miura 5 to take off from Kourou, the ground infrastructures to make it possible must first be set up. Raúl Verdú points out that it will be "its own launch pad, which we are not going to share with any other launch vehicle". Regarding the cost of construction, Torres says that he cannot give an exact figure, but that it will be "in the order of 15 million euros".  

PHOTO/PLD Space - La segunda etapa propulsora del Miura 5 debe estar en condiciones de posicionar en orbitas bajas de la Tierra pequeños satélites de entre 500 y 1.000 kilos
PHOTO/PLD Space - The second booster stage of the Miura 5 should be able to position small satellites of between 500 and 1,000 kilos in low Earth orbits

Raúl Verdú, who is in charge of finding the market, says that right now the company has commercial opportunities "for more than 320 million euros, with which we could complete the first 10 or 12 launches". With these expectations, "next year we will begin to close these first binding agreements and have our launch manifesto for 2025 and 2026".  

PLD has broken down the challenge to become the first Spanish launch services company into two stages. The first phase consisted of developing and firing the Miura 1 demonstrator rocket. Its purpose was to identify points of improvement to fine-tune the Miura 5, the ultimate goal of the first Spanish company formed to provide launch services to low orbits in outer space.

PHOTO/Pool Moncloa-Fernando Calvo - El presidente del Gobierno recibió el 11 de octubre a una delegación de PLD encabezada por su presidente ejecutivo, Ezequiel Sánchez, que le entregó un modelo a escala del Miura 1, anticipo del Miura 5
PHOTO/Pool Moncloa-Fernando Calvo - On 11 October, the President of the Government received a PLD delegation led by its CEO, Ezequiel Sánchez, who handed over a scale model of the Miura 1, a foretaste of the Miura 5

The decision on a second Miura 1 will be taken by the end of the year

The Miura 1 experimental vector was launched last 7 October from the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA) in Huelva, performed a suborbital flight, fell into the Atlantic waters, sank and has not been recovered. 

Miura 1 did not cross the Karman line, the imaginary 100-kilometre limit that is recognised for international purposes as entering outer space. According to information provided by PLD, the Miura 1's apogee - the maximum height it reached - was programmed to reach 46 kilometres, so it reached the stratosphere, the second of the four atmospheric layers that envelop the Earth.

PHOTO/JPons - Dotado con cinco potentes motores cohete Teprel C en su etapa principal, PLD aspira a que el Miura 5 esté completado y listo para su lanzamiento a finales de 2025
PHOTO/JPons - Equipped with five powerful Teprel C rocket engines in its main stage, PLD aims to have the Miura 5 completed and ready for launch by the end of 2025

But PLD is happy and satisfied, because the company and its engineers have acquired a great deal of knowledge to complete the development of the Miura 5, a space launcher that should indeed exceed the Karman line, go beyond it and place small satellites weighing between 500 kilos and up to 1 tonne into Earth orbit.

Raúl Torres stresses that "Miura 5 will be a much better rocket thanks to the lessons learned from the flight of Miura 1". PLD states that they have identified "more than 1,000 points of improvement", more than a thousand actions "that we are going to apply to the final development of the Miura 5".

PHOTO/PLD Space - PLD celebró a mediados de abril pasado un encuentro con los operadores y fabricantes de satélites interesados en el Miura 5 para exponerles la situación del programa
PHOTO/PLD Space - In mid-April, PLD held a meeting with satellite operators and manufacturers interested in Miura 5 to present the status of the programme

On the possibility of a second Miura 1 take-off to complete the milestones that were defined for its maiden flight and have not been achieved - for example, reaching an altitude of 80 kilometres and verifying that it is recoverable - PLD CEO Ezequiel Sánchez confirms that the second rocket "is already in the works". 

The company with its headquarters in Elche (Alicante) still has to complete the in-depth study of the thousands of data already obtained. "The decision will be taken before the end of the year", Ezequiel Sánchez and Raúl Torres confirm in unison, "provided that we reach the conclusion that the analysis of the information that a second launch of Miura 1 may or may not be relevant to the success of Miura 5".

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