Author Topic: PLD Space  (Read 19954 times)

Offline josespeck

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PLD Space
« on: 04/23/2015 11:16 AM »
Ignition test for a Spanish rocket



http://pldspace.com/

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space

Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #1 on: 04/23/2015 05:15 PM »
Awesome! Great to see some more EU startups!

Quote from:  PLD Space Website
We are ready and committed. Developing a new family of small rocket launchers for suborbital and orbital markets, ARION-1 & ARION-2, PLD Space pretends to contribute to the european aerospace sector growth, providing fiability and innovation


Quote from:  PLD Space Website
PLD Space pretends to contribute to the european aerospace sector growth, providing fiability and innovation


Quote from:  PLD Space Website
PLD Space pretends to contribute...

They really need somebody to iron out the English on their webpage, if for PR and intelligibility purposes alone. Also, is it legally acceptable for them to show images of the rockets of other companies on their website?
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Offline The Amazing Catstronaut

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #2 on: 04/23/2015 05:23 PM »
Further reading reveals that they're attempting to make two ultra-light rockets, the  ARION-1 (sounding rocket) and the ARION-2 (dedicated orbital picosatellite LV). There are some token words about reusability: they aim to develop a "full[y] reusable launch vehicle." The scale graphic suggests that one day in the indeterminate future they aspire to be an Arianespace competitor. Nothing too solid available on the website.

Edit: Graphics of ARION-1 and 2 are visible on the website. Big darn' fins.
« Last Edit: 04/23/2015 05:25 PM by The Amazing Catstronaut »
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Offline JasonAW3

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #3 on: 04/23/2015 07:23 PM »
Ignition test for a Spanish rocket



http://pldspace.com/

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space

Good thing that was only an ignition test! that camera would have been history with anything more energetic!
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Offline josespeck

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #4 on: 06/10/2015 03:39 PM »

Offline MarianoOchoa

Re: PLD Space
« Reply #5 on: 07/02/2015 03:53 AM »
First hot fire for their NetonVac engine
Source: [email protected]_space

Offline MarianoOchoa

Re: PLD Space
« Reply #6 on: 12/02/2015 07:30 PM »
Ok, everybody here must admit this is a great vid :)




Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #7 on: 01/08/2016 10:54 AM »
Nice new development for PLD Space. They got a contract to test the engine developed by the DLR SMILE program, on their test-stand in Spain. Info here and here
Also A nice article was written by Spanish journalist Julio Miravalls about PLD Space, it can be found here and here.

The specs for Arion 1 and Arion 2 so far:
Arion1  Length 10m, Diameter 0,6m, engine Neton1 30kN LOx/RP-1. Suborbital rocket 100kg to 220km. The stage is reusable by guided parachute landing.
Arion 2: 2 or 3 stage rocket. Length 20m, Diameter 1,2m, First stage 2xSTG1 90kN, Second stage Neton1V 30kN (third stage 6kN green Hypergoolic (most likely HTP-Cathalist+RP-1). The first stage is also parashute rexoverable.
PLD Space plans a total of 18 launches per year from Spanisch launch center EL Arenosillo (Huelva, Spain), INTA. 10 Launches of Arion 2 the other 8 Arion1, for this they will constantly need three of both rockets. One in fabrication, one in refurbishment and one being prepared for a launch.
At the beginning of this year PLD Space wants to test the flight version of Neton1, they are raising 6mln euro to develop Arion1. In the article it is claimed that PLD Space has an orderbook worth of 40mln Euro already.
I wonder if the SMILE engine test program is included in this number.

Offline jsgirald

Re: PLD Space
« Reply #8 on: 04/07/2016 09:30 AM »
Today PLD announced that they have got €1.56M funding from the Spanish government to develop a reusable liquid rocket engine via the TEPREL project  (acronym=Spanish Reusable Space Propulsion Technology for Launchers).

As per their estimate, the full development cost will need €6M, so they are almost half way there (they had some previous funding from CDTI and some private investors).

BTW, in addition to developing their rockets, they want to use El Arenosillo as their main launch facility. They say that it might be a good competitive alternate to places like Kiruna (if only for the weather!). Actually in the future they'd like to launch Arion 2 from El Hierro in the Canary Islands, but that's tricky since it is a natural reserve and the local government usually opposes any form of industry (certainly tourism is their main income source and the hotel owners have a lot of influence).

There's a lot more info in this presentation from 18 months ago (in Spanish).


« Last Edit: 04/07/2016 09:49 AM by jsgirald »
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #9 on: 04/07/2016 02:40 PM »
Nice video, I only don't understand Spanish and the translated subtitles aren't working.
What I could see was that the old design for Arion 1 was presented. It changed in 2015.
Here is an article (spanish), and one in english with the new design.

PLDspace is also involved in a Horison2020 project: :)
« Last Edit: 04/07/2016 02:42 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline jsgirald

Re: PLD Space
« Reply #10 on: 04/07/2016 03:27 PM »
Nice video, I only don't understand Spanish and the translated subtitles aren't working.
What I could see was that the old design for Arion 1 was presented. It changed in 2015.
Here is an article (spanish), and one in english with the new design.

PLDspace is also involved in a Horison2020 project: :)

Yup, I found about PLD fron Daniel Marín's blog!  :) I overlooked the other one, though, thanks.

In fact the video is a bit outdated, but Raul Torres tells the story of their project and outlines their future plans so it's still worth watching if you don't know them.

I've emailed them with a lot of questions, but still no reply, welI I guess they are too busy!
The most interesting aspect of this project is that, contrary to an all too common trend in aerospace industry, they are focused on building things from day 1 rather than PR (they've just got a powerpoint and a couple of videos). In the presentation he tells how one of the engineers of the team had to design the test stand because nothing like that had ever been built in Spain!
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Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #11 on: 04/10/2016 09:27 PM »
I think this post should also be placed here.
PLD just got spanish government contract. Not big but a good boost for their prospects

So PLDspace got has two contracts running. The engine test for DLR (SMILE-horizon2020) and the contract from the spanish government to continue work on their own engines.
« Last Edit: 04/10/2016 09:31 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

Offline russianhalo117

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #12 on: 06/13/2016 11:09 PM »
So here is all of the YouTube Updates to date as some are missing in this topic thread:

PLD SPACE Tour - Propulsion test stand VTS-1
PLD SPACE
Published on Jul 2, 2015
PLD Space teaser trailer. Propulsion Vertical Test Stand 1 located at Teruel Airport (Spain)


PLD Space Development Engine. Calorimetric Model Hotfire Test
PLD SPACE
Published on Jul 24, 2015
NetonVac1 development engine on PLD Space Propulsion Vertical Test Stand-1 (VTS-1) at Teruel Airport (Spain).

LOX-Kerosene , pressure fed engine. Total burning time of 3 seconds. Calorimetric test to study combustion stability and star-up, cut-off sequence.
9 test performed, continuing research stage towards a regenerative model.


PLD Space development engine. Full power engine test
PLD SPACE
Published on Oct 13, 2015
NetonVac1 development engine on PLD Space Propulsion Vertical Test Stand-1 (VTS-1) at Teruel Airport (Spain).

LOX-Kerosene , pressure fed engine. Full power thrust engine test.


This is PLD Space | 2015
PLD SPACE
Published on Dec 1, 2015
Commercial Launch Services. Dedicated to small Payloads.

Real Hardware, not just a Concept.

PLD Space is a European startup that is developing space technologies to provide suborbital and orbital commercial launch services, dedicated to small payloads and nanosatellites.


TEPREL 1A | Test fire. T-10 Spanish countdown autosequence
PLD SPACE
Published on Jun 6, 2016
TEPREL 1A LOX-Kerosene rocket engine T-10 countdown autosequence.
Test performed at PLD Space Propulsion Test Facilities in Teruel Airport (Spain).


PLD Space Project. Opening #Space for commercial exploitation
PLD SPACE
Published on Jun 13, 2016
We are PLD Space, a european space startup that is working very hard to become the world leader in providing commercial launch services to small satellites. #GoFlight
« Last Edit: 06/13/2016 11:10 PM by russianhalo117 »

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #13 on: 10/07/2016 10:11 PM »
I found this PLD SPACE EU project page.
PLDSPACE is trying to raise 20mln euro in a series B for the Arion 2 development.
16mln euro has to be private money. Minimal investment is 4mln.
According to the document, the development will start September 2017.

Offline savuporo

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #14 on: 11/03/2016 01:00 AM »
ESA is backing these guys some more

http://www.parabolicarc.com/2016/11/02/pld-space-esa-support-reusable-booster-development/
Quote
PLD Space ambition is to launch ARION 1 by the end of 2018 as Europe´s first liquid-fueled reusable launcher.

Meanwhile at PLD Space’s headquarters in Elche, engineers are working in the three major subsystems (propulsion, structures and avionics) of the ARION 1 micro-launcher to meet its first maiden flight by the end of 2018.
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Offline josespeck

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #15 on: 01/02/2017 07:47 PM »

Online Welsh Dragon

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #16 on: 01/03/2017 08:28 AM »
23k euro? I'm assuming that's after tax? Otherwise that's a ludicrously low wage for a job like that, surely?

Offline IRobot

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #17 on: 01/03/2017 11:14 AM »
I would say that the salary is before taxes, as taxes depend on your marriage status, number of children, etc.

Engineering positions in Spain and Portugal pay really bad and there isnt much public recognition of our job. Plus, unemployment in Spain is quite large. So tens of thousands of Engineers leave for other European countries (that's why I partially moved to Germany).

Engineers from Spain have a harder time getting out, as their level of English is usually quite bad.
« Last Edit: 01/03/2017 11:14 AM by IRobot »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #18 on: 01/09/2017 04:16 PM »
Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  8m8 minutes ago
GMV(1) invests in Spanish rocket startup PLD Space, brings PLD to EUR 6.7M frm public/private sector, to supply GNC for PLD's Arion rockets.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/818501906763051010

Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  5m5 minutes ago
GMV(2): @PLDSpace suborbital Arion1 to launch 2018 frm Spain. Arion2 for smallsats targets 2020 launch. @infoGMV  CEO Serrano on PLD board.

https://twitter.com/pbdes/status/818503179990089728

Offline savuporo

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #19 on: 01/09/2017 04:20 PM »
Quote
Peter B. de Selding ‏@pbdes  8m8 minutes ago
GMV(1) invests in Spanish rocket startup PLD Space, brings PLD to EUR 6.7M frm public/private sector, to supply GNC for PLD's Arion rockets.

Thats a good strategic investor. Lots of experience and resources from a traditional industry background to complement the startup energy and ideas. Best of luck !
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Online eeergo

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #20 on: 02/17/2017 01:33 PM »
-DaviD-

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #21 on: 05/23/2017 10:18 AM »
New engine testing campaign announced in Twitter, starting in June.

Talking about a 30% power increase, to be tested initially for >1 min duration static fire.

Meanwhile, final review of Arion-1 is about to start, with static fires by the end of this year.
-DaviD-

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #22 on: 06/05/2017 01:39 PM »
Quote
#FirstFlight engine hardware material arrieves at @PLD_Space headquarters. Test hardware assembled soon. #GoPLD
-DaviD-

Offline josespeck

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #23 on: 06/08/2017 09:29 AM »
Quote
#FirstFlight engine hardware material arrieves at @PLD_Space headquarters. Test hardware assembled soon. #GoPLD

what is the size?
Diameter 40 cm and length 120 cm?

Online eeergo

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #24 on: 06/08/2017 02:06 PM »
Quote
#FirstFlight engine hardware material arrieves at @PLD_Space headquarters. Test hardware assembled soon. #GoPLD

what is the size?
Diameter 40 cm and length 120 cm?

They look quite shorter than that: I'd say 80-100 cm long at most.
-DaviD-

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #25 on: 06/26/2017 05:02 PM »
They are showing some progress:

After 2 years of liquid rocket engine testing, performing dozens of hot firings, at PLD Space we are ready to accomplish our next giant leap.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/879379322821386240





Online eeergo

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #26 on: 06/26/2017 06:48 PM »
They are showing some progress:

After 2 years of liquid rocket engine testing, performing dozens of hot firings, at PLD Space we are ready to accomplish our next giant leap.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/879379322821386240


Indeed, in the video description they are announcing the unveiling and first testing of a new regeneratively-cooled engine.
-DaviD-

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #27 on: 06/29/2017 11:18 AM »
Very nice writeup (in Spanish) in Daniel Marin's blog, on PLD's plans and achievements.


http://danielmarin.naukas.com/2017/06/28/pld-space-dos-anos-de-pruebas-de-motores-cohete-en-espana/


Some snippets:


- Tests so far have used a calorimetric model, not machined on the outside (simple cylinder shape), for simplicity and to ease measurements. The 32-kN engine is a real-scale prototype for the Arion-1 single-stage suborbital launcher.


- Immediate plans call for the test of TEPREL-A, with a 110-s burn time, the same as the nominal first stage burn time of Arion-1.


- TEPREL-B will be the second iteration of the engine, with a 165-s burn time.


- Finally, TEPREL-C, to be tested before next year, will be the qualification version of the real Arion-1 engine.


- First (suborbital) flight of the Arion-1 is expected for NET April 2018, from El Arenosillo (Huelva, Spain). It will demonstrate a 220 km apogee trajectory for a 100 kg payload.


- Orbital launches with Arion-2 would follow in their long-term strategy after that, with first flight pencilled-in for 2021.
-DaviD-

Online Kosmos2001

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #28 on: 07/05/2017 01:44 PM »
Today we have the honour to introduce the new combustion chamber TERPEL-A, the new regenerative cooling rocket engine.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/882519746125680641

See attachment.
« Last Edit: 07/05/2017 01:44 PM by Kosmos2001 »

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #29 on: 07/17/2017 11:03 AM »
TEPREL-A test performed!


https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/886859400719339521


Quote from: PLDSpace
El nuevo motor cohete regenerativo de @PLD_Space ruge con fuerza. Comportamiento mecánico y térmico nominal. Muy pronto vídeo completo.
The new regenerative(ly-cooled) rocket engine from PLD_Space roars powerfully. Mechanical and thermal behaviors are nominal. Complete video coming up very soon.
-DaviD-

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #30 on: 07/22/2017 08:38 PM »
Quote
First hotfire of Spain startup @PLD_Space's regeneratively cooled engine for upcoming #Arion1 microlauncher vehicle 🚀youtu.be/xRm4zaoZjCI
https://twitter.com/megsylhydrazine/status/888842341900926976


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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #31 on: 08/29/2017 06:17 PM »
Quote
@PLD_Space is ready to unveil its new own facilities next week. Here we have a first advance of how it looks like. #RocketFactory #NewSpace

https://twitter.com/pld_space/status/902184301697142784

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #32 on: 09/26/2017 09:16 AM »
Quote
PLD Space‏ @PLD_Space 22m22 minutes ago

Unfortunately this year @PLD_Space couldn´t attend the #IAC2017. We are working really hard, major announcement soon! Keep an eye!

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/912601130978435072

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #33 on: 10/25/2017 10:43 AM »
Quote
@PLD_Space is please to show for the first time how our beast will be. HD Artist Conception. Meet ARION 1, Our technological demonstrator.

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/923134542075981824

Offline Rik ISS-fan

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #34 on: 10/26/2017 01:43 PM »
Spacenews article: Spain’s launch startups make a case for hosting a European spaceport

I always tought PLD Space had it's eyes set on INTA's (CEDEA) El Arenosillo test Center . maps

The Article is wrong on DLR leading the SMILE project, its NLR (Dutch instead of German, but it's practically the same) And Smile looks to the north not south for a launch site.

In my opinion it is unlikely that one startup company (in Europe) will be able to develop an orbital launcher and be able to offer a service. But PLD Space has one of the best business cases in my opinion.
« Last Edit: 10/26/2017 02:01 PM by Rik ISS-fan »

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #35 on: 01/07/2018 01:11 PM »
Quote
As you may know, next week @PLD_Space will announce a huge step forward in the ARION European #Microlauncher development program. “Paulatim Ergo Certe”. #ARION #European #Reusable #Microlauncher

https://twitter.com/pld_space/status/950004458993471489

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #36 on: 01/10/2018 09:14 AM »
Quote
IT IS OFFICIAL: @PLD_Space awarded 2 Million Euro grant from the European Commission for the ARION #microlauncher programme #Europe #Space #Launchers

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951031174939447296

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #37 on: 01/10/2018 09:16 AM »
Quote
This financial support from the #EC is currently the biggest public support to PLD Space and one of the biggest European public supports for SMEs. #ARION is strategic for Europe´s Independence and Competitiveness.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951031612829061120

Quote
With the European Commission, joined to the Spanish Government and to the European Space Agency, @PLD_Space has now the support of the 3 more important European institutions to develop a #Microlauncher. More than 30 private investors has also been joined to #ARION
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951032115935641600

Quote
The company and #ARION has also been supported by European space-related personalities, such as Mr. Franco Malerba, the first Italian astronaut who flew in the Space Shuttle @NASA Mission STS-46 and member of the European Parliament.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951032619180929024

Quote
"Thanks to this strategical institutional support we are closer to have all the necessary support and resources for a fully commercial launch service dedicated to small payloads in Europe , and be one of the 10 worldwide countries with launch capabilities" - Raúl Torres, CEO.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951033373803212802

Quote
the technologies that will be directly transferred to ARION 2, PLD Space´s proposed Spanish small satellite launcher, which will be entirely produced by European industry.
https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951034632727859200

Edit to add:

Quote
“This support strengthens the position of PLD Space in the space industry and increases the confidence of private investors. We are now ready to the next step forward in our company, the closing of an A2 investment round of 8 million Euro very soon”. - Raúl Verdú, CBO.

https://twitter.com/PLD_Space/status/951035890742149120
« Last Edit: 01/10/2018 09:24 AM by FutureSpaceTourist »

Online Kosmos2001

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #38 on: 01/10/2018 04:55 PM »
So Malerba is going to supervise their work. Interesting.

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #39 on: 02/01/2018 10:12 AM »
PLD Space have announced their ARION2 orbital microlauncher:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44832.0

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: PLD Space
« Reply #40 on: 02/01/2018 09:14 PM »
Google Translated from above like: http://danielmarin.naukas.com/2017/06/28/pld-space-dos-anos-de-pruebas-de-motores-cohete-en-espana/

Quote
The company PLD Space continues with its ambitious goal of becoming the first Spanish company to build an orbital launcher. And today we have great news, because the European space agency (ESA) has chosen PLD Space as the main contractor of the LPSR (Liquid Propulsion Stage Recovery) program to develop a reusable first stage. Come on, a kind of SpaceX to the Spanish.

To put ourselves in a position, remember that PLD Space is developing two rockets, the Arion 1 and the Arion 2. The Arion 1 will be a single-stage suborbital launcher, while the Arion 2 will be able to put satellites in low Earth orbit - and even more there- thanks to its three stages. Precisely PLD Space intends to use these launchers as demonstrators of ESA's LPSR program, a program in which other Spanish companies such as COMET Engineering and Tecnalia-CTA Technology Center will also participate. The contract of the LPSR program amounts to 750,000 euros.

The objective of PLD Space is therefore to provide the Arion 2 with a reusable first stage, although previously they will carry out test flights with the Arion 1. So, does this mean that we are going to see a Spanish rocket returning to the launching pad as the Falcon? 9 from SpaceX? Not quite. Precisely the LPSR program must identify which technologies are the most suitable for the recovery and reuse of the first stages of liquid fuel rockets. In the Arion 1 reuse technologies associated with both the supersonic phase of flight and the subsonic will be tested. The techniques of reuse that will be tested in the Arion 1 will be more traditional and will consist of parachutes (both supersonic and subsonic), although the possibility of using controlled paragliders or ballutes, a mixture of parachutes and balloon that was very popular, will also be studied. in the 60s (in fact it was proposed as a braking medium for the MAR manned landing module). In addition, Arion 1 flights will test the benefits of new thermal protection systems (TPS) of the coping - remember that this suborbital launcher will reenter the atmosphere with the nose ahead - and other technologies to reduce the adverse effects of corrosion due to seawater.

The first flight of Arion 1 is scheduled for the end of 2018 and, depending on the success of this vector, the Arion 2 will follow in 2020 (obviously, no one will be shocked if there is finally some delay in these plans). A possible mission of the Arion 1 within the LPSR program could be the following: the rocket takes off from the base of El Arenosillo (Huelva) and 40 seconds later exceeds the speed of sound. About 110 seconds after the launch, the engine shuts off at an altitude of 80 kilometers and two minutes later the rocket reaches its peak at 220 kilometers. 390 seconds after the takeoff, reentry into the atmosphere would begin, which the rocket would carry out with the cap pointing towards the ground, as if it were an arrow. At 420 seconds of the mission the supersonic parachute would be deployed and at 510 seconds it would be the turn of the two larger subsonic parachutes. Finally, the landing in the Atlantic would take place 700 seconds after takeoff. Prior to this mission, a test of Arion 1 will be conducted by launching it from a military cargo plane to test the sequence of events related to the landing.

For its part, the Arion 2 will have a more advanced reuse system that will make use of the vehicle's engines. However, returning the first stage of Arion 2 to almost the launch ramp in a similar way to Falcon 9 is another matter. Why? Because this launcher is already quite small in itself and carry the necessary fuel for reuse would reduce its load capacity to practically zero. For this reason what PLD Space will do within the LPSR program is to recover the first stage of the Arion 2 using rocket engines, yes, but also parachutes, as well as nitrogen propellers and supersonic ailerons similar to those used by SpaceX on top of the first stage of the Falcon 9 (ailerons, by the way, that are used in the emergency escape system, SAS, of the Soyuz). Nitrogen thrusters and supersonic ailerons would allow to maintain control of the vehicle from the supersonic phase to landing. In the final, subsonic phase, the two motors of the first stage would be added to guarantee a vectorial control of the descent and allow to delimit the landing zone with great precision. In order to reduce the technological gap between the Arion 1 and the Arion 2 PLD Space wants to test the Arion 1.5, an improved version of the Arion 1 with two stages, the first of which will be more powerful. Although it will also be a suborbital vector, the Arion 1.5 will have a second stage that will be placed on a trajectory that simulates an orbital launch.

Although there are currently several initiatives within the ESA to create reusable launch systems, this is the first time that the European agency - and not the various space agencies of the EU countries - decides to bet on the development of technologies for recovering complete stages of liquid fuel launchers, techniques that at the moment only dominate the North American companies SpaceX and Blue Origin. And the good news is that these technologies will be tested on Spanish rockets. PLD Space now has a huge challenge ahead: to prove that not only are they capable of launching rockets, but they can also recover them. Whether they succeed or not, they will undoubtedly make history. From here we wish you all the luck of the world. I bear witness that they deserve it.]The company PLD Space continues with its ambitious goal of becoming the first Spanish company to build an orbital launcher. And today we have great news, because the European space agency (ESA) has chosen PLD Space as the main contractor of the LPSR (Liquid Propulsion Stage Recovery) program to develop a reusable first stage. Come on, a kind of SpaceX to the Spanish.

To put ourselves in a position, remember that PLD Space is developing two rockets, the Arion 1 and the Arion 2. The Arion 1 will be a single-stage suborbital launcher, while the Arion 2 will be able to put satellites in low Earth orbit - and even more there- thanks to its three stages. Precisely PLD Space intends to use these launchers as demonstrators of ESA's LPSR program, a program in which other Spanish companies such as COMET Engineering and Tecnalia-CTA Technology Center will also participate. The contract of the LPSR program amounts to 750,000 euros.

The objective of PLD Space is therefore to provide the Arion 2 with a reusable first stage, although previously they will carry out test flights with the Arion 1. So, does this mean that we are going to see a Spanish rocket returning to the launching pad as the Falcon? 9 from SpaceX? Not quite. Precisely the LPSR program must identify which technologies are the most suitable for the recovery and reuse of the first stages of liquid fuel rockets. In the Arion 1 reuse technologies associated with both the supersonic phase of flight and the subsonic will be tested. The techniques of reuse that will be tested in the Arion 1 will be more traditional and will consist of parachutes (both supersonic and subsonic), although the possibility of using controlled paragliders or ballutes, a mixture of parachutes and balloon that was very popular, will also be studied. in the 60s (in fact it was proposed as a braking medium for the MAR manned landing module). In addition, Arion 1 flights will test the benefits of new thermal protection systems (TPS) of the coping - remember that this suborbital launcher will reenter the atmosphere with the nose ahead - and other technologies to reduce the adverse effects of corrosion due to seawater.

The first flight of Arion 1 is scheduled for the end of 2018 and, depending on the success of this vector, the Arion 2 will follow in 2020 (obviously, no one will be shocked if there is finally some delay in these plans). A possible mission of the Arion 1 within the LPSR program could be the following: the rocket takes off from the base of El Arenosillo (Huelva) and 40 seconds later exceeds the speed of sound. About 110 seconds after the launch, the engine shuts off at an altitude of 80 kilometers and two minutes later the rocket reaches its peak at 220 kilometers. 390 seconds after the takeoff, reentry into the atmosphere would begin, which the rocket would carry out with the cap pointing towards the ground, as if it were an arrow. At 420 seconds of the mission the supersonic parachute would be deployed and at 510 seconds it would be the turn of the two larger subsonic parachutes. Finally, the landing in the Atlantic would take place 700 seconds after takeoff. Prior to this mission, a test of Arion 1 will be conducted by launching it from a military cargo plane to test the sequence of events related to the landing.

For its part, the Arion 2 will have a more advanced reuse system that will make use of the vehicle's engines. However, returning the first stage of Arion 2 to almost the launch ramp in a similar way to Falcon 9 is another matter. Why? Because this launcher is already quite small in itself and carry the necessary fuel for reuse would reduce its load capacity to practically zero. For this reason what PLD Space will do within the LPSR program is to recover the first stage of the Arion 2 using rocket engines, yes, but also parachutes, as well as nitrogen propellers and supersonic ailerons similar to those used by SpaceX on top of the first stage of the Falcon 9 (ailerons, by the way, that are used in the emergency escape system, SAS, of the Soyuz). Nitrogen thrusters and supersonic ailerons would allow to maintain control of the vehicle from the supersonic phase to landing. In the final, subsonic phase, the two motors of the first stage would be added to guarantee a vectorial control of the descent and allow to delimit the landing zone with great precision. In order to reduce the technological gap between the Arion 1 and the Arion 2 PLD Space wants to test the Arion 1.5, an improved version of the Arion 1 with two stages, the first of which will be more powerful. Although it will also be a suborbital vector, the Arion 1.5 will have a second stage that will be placed on a trajectory that simulates an orbital launch.

Although there are currently several initiatives within the ESA to create reusable launch systems, this is the first time that the European agency - and not the various space agencies of the EU countries - decides to bet on the development of technologies for recovering complete stages of liquid fuel launchers, techniques that at the moment only dominate the North American companies SpaceX and Blue Origin. And the good news is that these technologies will be tested on Spanish rockets. PLD Space now has a huge challenge ahead: to prove that not only are they capable of launching rockets, but they can also recover them. Whether they succeed or not, they will undoubtedly make history. From here we wish you all the luck of the world. I bear witness that they deserve it.
« Last Edit: 02/01/2018 09:16 PM by Darkseraph »
"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." R.P.Feynman

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