ELCHE, Spain, July 21, 2016 (PLD Space, PR) — The European rocket company PLD Space has received another $1.1M contract to foster its liquid rocket engine propulsion program. This new economic support has been provided by the regional investment fund of the Aragón area, called SUMA Teruel. PLD Space had already received the $1.56M TEPREL contract in April 2016 to upgrade for flight its 25 KN Liquid Oxygen – Kerosene rocket engine.
PLD Space is the first European rocket company that made in 2015 the critical leap from Powerpoint and cool drawings to full-scale hardware and real tests.
The $1.1M investment will provide all the necessary economical resources to upgrade PLD Space’s current propulsion test stand and to develop 2 new benches at Teruel Airport, located in the desert area of Aragón (Spain). The activity of the company is growing at this location since 2014, when PLD Space began the construction of the first fully-private liquid propulsion test facility in Europe. In June 2015, PLD Space become the first European company to test a full-scale and full-power liquid rocket engine demonstrator for small satellites launcher.
Meanwhile at PLD Space’s headquarters in Elche, engineers are working to upgrade its current propulsion test stand, called VTS-1 to perform long-duration engine firings, allowing to test its new liquid propulsion system up to 180 seconds, a full-mission firing for the ARION 1 single stage rocket.
In addition, PLD Space will develop two new test stands, allowing to test entire stages of its launch vehicles and advanced engine developments with Liquid Methane.
The next test stand will be called S1-PTS (Stage 1 Propulsion Test Stand) and will be focused on testing complete stages with fully integrated propulsion, avionics and structures flight-qualification subsystems. In December 2017 PLD Space will test the ARION 1’s first stage at S1-PTS in a full-mission duration test with Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) and Software-in-the-loop (SIL) techniques prior to the April 2018 maiden flight. This procedure will provide all the necessary information to feel PLD Space comfortable for ARION 1 first test flight with 100 kg suborbital payloads on board. The company is working with several European customers for this first test launch, which will be free for suborbital research and technology development.
In addition, the PLD Space’s Advanced Projects team is working with a new propulsion test facility that will be equipped with Liquid Oxygen – Liquid Methane and will fulfil the European needs to test new propulsion developments and will be also used to test high-efficient ARION 2 orbital launch vehicle third stage developments.
EC/DLR and TEPREL
In December 2015, PLD Space signed a contract with the European Commission and DLR to test DLR’s innovative propulsion technologies at PLD Space’s propulsion test facilities. This milestone is a giant leap in the PLD Space commercial roadmap and the company is looking forward for new contracts with other European space companies, by using PLD Space’s expertise in propulsion and testing facilities.
In addition, in April 2016 the Spanish Government awarded to PLD Space with the $1.56 M contract called TEPREL, the Spanish acronym of Launchers reusable liquid propulsion technology, allowing PLD Space to carry out all the necessary engineering to get its liquid propulsion system fully qualified for ARION 1 maiden flight in April 2018.