If the battle for large space shuttles is waged between American companies such as Space X or Blue Origin or, on the European side, Ariane, with regard to orbital launchers for small reusable satellites, Spain also participates in the war and advantage. So the Spanish company PLD Space, based in the airport of Teruel, has already taken the first steps to the front with its Miura 5 rocket.
Thus, today the test of recovery of the first stage of the MIURA 5 rocket has been carried out from the El Arenosillo Experimentation Center (CEDEA). This essay, framed within a project of development of future launchers (FLPP) of the European Space Agency (ESA), has had as its purpose to validate the recovery system of MIURA 5, the
European private proposal for the development of a reusable orbital launcher. The drop test has been carried out successfully on April 11, 2019, which places PLD Space in a
good position for the development of a reusable orbital launcher that allows to offer space access services for small satellites.
To carry out this test, the Transport Helicopter Battalion V (Bheltra V), of the Aeromobile Forces of the Army has been in charge of releasing the demonstrator from a height of 5 km, using a Chinook CH helicopter. -47. In the first attempt to release, an electrical problem in the separation mechanism has caused the mission to be aborted.
The tandem has returned to the starting point and, after repair, has decided to try the test again. This time, successfully, the demonstrator, 15 m long and 1.4 m in diameter, has fallen on a controlled area of the Atlantic, located 6 km from the coast of Huelva, a segregated space controlled by INTA.
In a carefully timed sequence controlled by the electronic systems on board, a series of three parachutes have been ejected that have decelerated the demonstrator until its splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean at a speed of about 10 meters per second.
The parachute system has been designed and developed by Airborne Systems North America, one of the most experienced companies in the world and that developed the parachutes of the NASA Apollo capsule, among others. This same parachute system will be used on MIURA 1 and MIURA 5 flights.
Once the demonstrator has impacted on the water, a team of divers has taken care of its drag to a tugboat.
The demonstrator has been returned to the port of Mazagón after its successful recovery in the ocean and will be transported back to the headquarters of PLD Space, in Elche for analysis.
The FLPP-LPSR project has been funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) with the support of the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI). The coordination and the means that CEDEA has deployed for the operation to have been a success have been fundamental throughout the process.
An essay like this is extremely complicated and requires tremendous effort. Achieving this successfully highlights the enormous potential and commitment of the PLD Space team, which has managed to make history in Europe with this essay for the European Space Agency. We are proud to say that with them and the commitment of an entire company, the development of a European reusable space launcher is closer. Without a doubt, we must thank the enormous institutional support that PLD Space has received from ESA, CDTI, INTA and the Army. In addition, it has allowed us to coordinate and discover the potential of companies and other organizations that have participated in the project, such as Tecnalia, Airborne Systems North America, Sensonor, Solycal, Nomasa, Itecam, Special Machining, Blasco Workshops, Sertrain, STS, Helibasket, the University of Alicante and Integral Risk Global.