PLD Space


Payload Aerospace S.L. (PLD Space)
IndustryLaunch service provider
Founded2011; 10 years ago (2011)
FounderRaúl Torres, Raúl Verdú and José Enrique Martínez
Key people
Raúl Torres (co-founder & CEO); Raúl Verdú (co-founder & COO)
ProductsTEPREL rocket engine
Miura 1 rocket
Miura 5 rocket
ServicesSuborbital & orbital rocket launch; Rocket engine testing
Number of employees
70 (July 20th,2021).

Payload Aerospace S.L. (PLD Space) is a Spanish company developing two partially-reusable launch vehicles called Miura 1 and Miura 5.

Miura 1 is designed as a sounding rocket for sub-orbital flights to perform research or technology development in microgravity environment and/or in the upper atmosphere. Furthermore, Miura 1 is also serving as the technological demonstrator of the orbital launcher Miura 5. Miura 5 will provide orbital launch capabilities for small payloads such as CubeSats or microsatellites, that need a flexible and dedicated launch vehicle and therefore can not fly with traditional launch vehicles. It is being designed to deliver a total payload mass up to 300 kg (660 lb) into low Earth orbit.[1][2]

Recovery of the first stage would be by the use of parachutes and splashdown for re-use.


Headquarters of PLD Space in Elche, Spain

PLD Space was founded in 2011 by Raúl Torres, Raúl Verdú and José E. Martínez in Elche, Spain, and as of 2019 it employs 70 people. In August 2017 the company headquarter moved to new facilities in the Elche Industrial Park, where the assembly facilities for Miura 1 are located.[3]

Since 2014, the company is operating an engine test stand located at the Airport in Teruel,[4] where they performed the first test of its liquid fuel engine on July 1, 2015.[5] It was the first time a liquid rocket engine was tested in Spain, and the first time a private company in Europe tested a liquid rocket engine on its own facilities. PLD Space plans to expand their test facilities to include a vertical test stand to qualify the complete Miura 1 suborbital rocket.[6]

In early August 2018, PLD Space and the Teruel Airport Consortium signed the concession of a 13,337 m2 space at the airport for the PLD Space to test launcher technology. The agreement has a period of 25 years, with the option of an additional 10-year extension. PLD Space will invest euro 1M in infrastructure for the construction of a new control room, offices, access paths, a rocket engine maintenance hangar and a new test bench to test the complete Miura 1 rocket.[7]

On November 2018 PLD Reached an agreement with INTA to launch Miura 1 from El Arenosillo.[8] The agreement is not limited to using the INTA facilities for launching but rather establishing a lasting relationship that will allow them to develop scientific, aerospace and technical knowledge.

On July 2019, PLD Space reached an agreement with CNES to study the launch of Miura 5 from CSG, French Guiana.[9] As part of their agreement, INTA is also helping them procure a launch site, being El Hierro Launch Centre the best option from a technical point of view.[10]


Rocket engine testing

The company has been funded through a series of investment rounds with institutional and private sources and up to now gathered investments worth around $10 million. In 2013 they closed a $1.6 million investment round,[11] including a seed contract with the Spanish Government through the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI).

PLD Space secured its first commercial contract as one of the partners in the Small Innovative Launcher for Europe (SMILE) program with the European Commission and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in December 2015. The company is responsible for testing liquid propulsion engines for the DLR at its propulsion test facilities in the Airport of Teruel.[12][13] In April 2016, PLD Space secured a further $1.56 million from Spain's TEPREL reusable launcher engine program. TEPREL (Acronym for Spanish Reusable Propulsion Technologies for Launchers) will help PLD Space to continue their liquid rocket engine program,[11][14]\ the first one in Spain dedicated to boost the small satellite industry in Europe. This project will help PLD Space to develop a 35 kN rocket engine qualified for flight.

In October 2016, The European Space Agency (ESA) selected PLD Space as the prime contractor for the "Liquid Propulsion Stage Recovery" project (LPSR) as part of the agency's Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (FLPP). The goal of this project is to study a strategy to recover the first stage of a launcher, making it partially reusable, with a prospected funding of $800,000.[15] In a second investment round, closed in January 2017, the company secured $7.1 million, $3.2 million of that contributed by GMV. GMV also took the role to develop the complete avionics of Miura 1 and Miura 5, including guidance, navigation and control (GNC), telemetry and onboard software for both launchers.[16] PLD Space received further $2.34 million in January 2018 through the European Commissions Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) Instrument Phase 2, as part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 program for research and innovation, a grant to support to the development of a pair of launchers designed for small satellites.[17] In February 2018 PLD Space was one of the five companies chosen by ESA to perform a feasibility study proposing an economically viable, commercially self-sustaining microlauncher. For this, the company received a funding of $368,000.[18][19] In September 2020, PLD Space secured €7 million Series B funding from Arcano partners.[20]


Miura 1

Miura 1 is a one-stage suborbital recoverable launch vehicle capable of suborbital flight. It is slated to be the first recoverable launch vehicle in Europe.[6] It uses a TEPREL-B engine, also designed and produced by PLD Space.

Miura 5


Miura 5 is a 25 m long two-stage launch vehicle capable of placing up to 300 kg of load in a 500 km heliosynchronous orbit. It uses 5 TEPREL-C engines.

See also


  1. ^ Henry, Caleb (28 November 2018). "PLD Space, after ESA input, doubles lift capacity of smallsat launcher". SpaceNews. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  2. ^ Henry, Caleb (30 November 2016). "Spanish propulsion startup wants to build Europe's first reusable rockets". SpaceNews. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  3. ^ Moltó, Daniel (11 Feb 2018). "PLD Space: Talento de Elche a la conquista del mercado aeroespacial". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  4. ^ Franco, Leonor (21 Dec 2018). "PLD Space creará un nuevo banco de pruebas en el aeropuerto para cohetes completos". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  5. ^ Peláez, J (2 Dec 2015). "PLD Space, la empresa española camino de lanzar satélites e incluso alcanzar la Luna". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Marín, Daniel (16 Feb 2018). "Europa apuesta por PLD Space para alcanzar el espacio". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  7. ^ "PLD SPACE signs a 25-year concession for rocket engine testing at Teruel Airport". SpaceDaily. 7 August 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Acuerdo entre INTA y PLD Space para lanzar el cohete MIURA 1 desde el Centro de Experimentación de "El Arenosillo"".
  9. ^ Space, P. L. D. (July 1, 2019). "Today @PLD_Space and @CNES, and with the support of @CDTIoficial signed at #EUCASS2019 a preliminary Agreement to study the launch of #MIURA5 microlauncher from CSG, French Guayana. #Microlaunchers #EUCASS".
  10. ^ "Teniente general José María Salom, director general del INTA - Noticias Defensa En abierto". April 14, 2019.
  11. ^ a b Caleb, Henry (9 Jan 2017). "Spain's GMV takes a stake in PLD Space's reusable rocket quest". SpaceNews. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  12. ^ "PLD Space Receives Funding For Liquid Rocket Engine Propulsion Project". 27 Jul 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  13. ^ "Start of design for concept SMall Innovative Launcher for Europe (SMILE)". 31 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  14. ^ Messier, Doug (10 April 2016). "PLD Space Receives Funding From Spanish Government". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  15. ^ "La ESA confía a la española PLD Space su proyecto de cohete reutilizable". 3 March 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  16. ^ "La multinacional GMV invierte en PLD Space". 9 Jan 2017. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  17. ^ "PLD Space Awarded €2m Grant from the European Commission for the ARION Micro-Launcher Programme". Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  18. ^ "ESA explores microlaunchers for small satellites". 8 Feb 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  19. ^ Caleb, Henry (8 Feb 2018). "ESA awards five smallsat launcher study contracts". SpaceNews. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  20. ^ "PLD Space closes €7M investment in tie-up with Arcano Partners". Retrieved 2020-11-21.

External links

  • Official website