Launch Of Spain’s Historic Miura 1 Rocket Cancelled Minutes Before Takeoff

Image of the PLD Space rocket 'Miura 1'.

Image of the PLD Space rocket 'Miura 1'. Credit: Twitter@PLD_Space

The scheduled launch of the Miura 1 rocket was cancelled once again, just minutes before it was due to take off this morning, Saturday, June 17.

Spain’s historic first launch from El Arenosillo in Huelva was scrapped at the last minute due to a problem with the ignition of the engine.

According to a tweet from Raúl Torres, the co-founder and launch director of PLD Space, the takeoff of the spaceship was automatically aborted.

“We have had an automatic ‘Abort’ due to the NO release of the avionics umbilicals, the rest were free and the engine at nominal thrust. 0.25 second margin. The Miura 1 is healthy. We analysed the data to have more information”, he wrote.

In a tweet later today, Torres insisted: “We will finish the full study of the launch attempt and come back soon with a new launch date, summer and heat permitting. One thing is certain @PLD_Space does not give up. We are a professional and capable team. Flying is a matter of time #VamosMIURA !”.

PLD Space added: “@RaulTorresPLD accompanied by @ingverdu and @ezequielsanchez: ‘Having been able to complete all the procedures and reach the auto-sequence phase in time, engine start and nominal thrust is a success. 99.9% of all the processes have been a success”.

Miura 1’s previous launch was cancelled at the last minute on May 31

A previous attempt to launch Miura 1 was cancelled five minutes before its takeoff on May 31 due to the presence of strong winds blowing at the site in Huelva.

At 12.5 metres high, the Miura 1 rocket uses liquid fuel that is designed to lift payloads of 100 kilos to an altitude of 150 km.

It is eventually expected to make a 12-minute flight in which 3 minutes of microgravity can be achieved to conduct experiments. The return of the launcher will be facilitated by a parachute into the sea, from where it will be safely recovered with the payload.

Miura 1 is a technology demonstrator for PLD Space’s ultimate goal of launching a much larger orbital rocket, Miura 5, in 2024.

That would place Spain among the small number of countries with the capacity to successfully send small satellites into space.

PLD Space emphasised that: “Every second that Miura 1 is in the air, it will be a second of success and a milestone”.

According to the company, among the main objectives of this mission is to collect: “as much flight data as possible. This fact will be very important to determine potential improvements or changes for the future Miura 5 orbital launcher”.

During its flight, the launcher will try to achieve microgravity conditions for the payloads travelling on board. This is something that will occur after the MECO (engine shutdown) event and the start of the ballistic flight phase.

This first mission will allow PLD Space to verify the operation of ‘key’ technologies in flight, something that to date they have not yet been able to do.

PLD Space will use the first flight to analyse Miura 1’s behaviour under real conditions

Specifically, they will analyse the thrust profile of the engine in flight conditions, as well as the aerodynamic behaviour of the launcher, its nominal trajectory tracking, the nominal behaviour of all subsystems under real conditions, and its reaction while exposed to real space conditions.

Miura 1 was developed at the PLD Space facilities in Elche, where the first tests were carried out in the municipality of Teruel.

However, since March, the project has been transferred to the Cedea facilities in El Arenosillo, where the launch will finally be carried out from Médano del Loro.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

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