Latest News

Spain’s PLD Space Launches Suborbital Rocket for the First Time

By Mark Holmes | October 9, 2023

PLD Space launches the Miura-1 suborbital rocket. Photo: PLD Space

Spanish company PLD Space launched its suborbital Miura-1 rocket for the first time on Saturday, Oct. 7, reaching a height of 46 km. While the rocket is designed to reach an apogee of 150 km and it only reached 46 km, PLD Space said it met the primary mission objectives related to engine thrust, trajectory tracking, and launcher behavior. The flight lasted 306 seconds.

With this mission, PLD Space claimed the milestone of the first launch of a private European rocket. Last year, Skyrora launched its suborbital Skylark L vehicle, but the mission ended in an anomaly.

The first launch of Miura-1 took place at the facilities of the El Arenosillo Experimentation Centre (CEDEA), belonging to the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA). The company said this milestone provides Spain with the opportunity for direct access to space and to generate a national and European strategic capability.

PLD Space is preparing for the first launch of its orbital Miura-5 rocket, which is scheduled for 2025 at the European spaceport CSG in Kourou, French Guiana, with commercial operations set to begin in 2026.

“This launch establishes PLD Space as the frontrunner in the European space race. We ventured into space fueled more by determination than resources, yet we triumphed. The team’s elation is visible. Indeed, the mission’s success is a collective accomplishment, encompassing our investors, partners, and suppliers,” Ezequiel Sánchez, CEO of PLD Space said in a statement.