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PLD Space meets with CNES in French Guiana after its pre-selection to fly MIURA 5 in 2024 from the European Spaceport

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  • A representation of the Spanish company travel to the CSG (Guiana Space Center) facilities in Kourou, where the launch pad for its orbital rocket, MIURA 5, should to be located
  • The company has made progress towards the preparation of agreements with the CNES
  • PLD Space, which is Europe's leading provider of access to space for small satellites, is already working on the design and construction of the launch infrastructure in French Guiana

The Spanish company PLD Space has visited the site where the future launch pad of its orbital rocket, MIURA 5, should be located in Kourou (French Guiana). The company has traveled to the CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) facilities after the announcement of its pre-selection to fly MIURA 5 in 2024 from this European complex. In addition, it has advanced in its plans at this spaceport.

A team of MIURA 5 program representatives has travelled this week to the Guiana Space Center (CSG) in Kourou, where they have been able to see first-hand the areas that CNES plans to make available to European small launcher operators through a public call for applications. As announced by the president and CEO of CNES, Philippe Baptiste, at the end of July, PLD Space is one of the seven European companies shortlisted to operate at the site known as Diamant.

During this visit, the Spanish company has made progress in the steps prior to the preparation of the binding term sheet with the French space agency. PLD Space's Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO), Raúl Verdú, has met with the director of the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG), Marie-Anne Clair.

"We have manifested our interest since 2018 to operate MIURA 5 from CSG for commercial launches. We are proud to be one of the very early promotors of this new use of the European historical spaceport" says Verdú.

“We are very happy to support the new European actors in access to space, in particular by giving them the opportunity to operate from the European spaceport of Kourou” comments Clair.

PLD Space has manifested its interest since 2018. on the opportunity to leverage the CSG, in operation since 1968, as the main spaceport for MIURA 5. This facility, currently used for Ariane and Vega launchers, can accommodate new European launch vehicles as an additional way to increase Europe's competitiveness and create independence for access to space.

PLD Space's launch manifest contemplates starting in 2024 with two annual MIURA 5 flight missions from French Guiana, progressively increasing to between 10 and 12 launches per year. The firm is currently developing the design and construction activities for the launch infrastructure in Kourou, as well as the management of operational needs.

"Our statement is clear: we want the future of PLD Space and MIURA 5 to be sustained at one of the most important spaceports in the world," highlights PLD Space Co-founder and CEO, Raúl Torres. "This collaboration reinforces our commitment to provide commercial launch services to small satellites from the European territory."

 

Next steps for MIURA 1 and MIURA 5

PLD Space's programmatic plan remains on schedule. The company is completing the qualification campaign of its suborbital rocket, MIURA 1, at its test facilities in Teruel (Spain). At the same time, it has already started manufacturing the flight unit to be launched at the end of 2022 from its base in El Arenosillo (Huelva, Spain), which is currently under construction.

Simultaneously, the Spanish company is making progress in the design and development of MIURA 5, which will fly in mid-2024. To meet this strategic milestone, PLD Space plans to expand its technical facilities in Teruel and its manufacturing plant in Elche (Spain). It will also grow its team, which currently consists of more than 110 professionals and expects to increase to 200 people in the coming year.

 

About PLD Space

PLD Space is a pioneering Spanish company in the aerospace sector and a reference within Europe in the development of reusable rockets, with a recognized prestige in the sector and a solid project that has become a reality through its launch vehicles: the MIURA 1 suborbital and MIURA 5 orbital rockets, which will place Spain among the few countries with the capacity to successfully send small satellites to space.

With a decade of history, PLD Space plans to launch its MIURA 1 prototype in the second half of 2022 and tackle its first real space transport mission with MIURA 5 in 2024. The firm, based in Elche (Alicante) and with technical facilities in Teruel and Huelva, has already achieved more than $50 million of investment to drive forward its project in the space sector.

  

About CNES

CNES (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales) is the government agency responsible for shaping and executing France’s space programme. It develops and guides research in the fields of space science and engineering. It is also the French centre of excellence for space technologies and applications.

 CSG (Guiana Space Center), the European Space Port, is the site from which the Ariane and Vega launchers take off. It offers a particularly advantageous geographic location for certain launches and a more than 50-year track record. CNES has chosen the Diamant launch complex to accommodate new micro-/mini-launchers. The complex will provide shared facilities—access road, power systems, etc.—for several launchers, as well as specific facilities for each individual launcher—launch table, assembly building, etc. By bringing together international players in French Guiana around major strategic themes, it enables the launch of satellites from operators around the world for space applications essential to everyday life.

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