PLD Space and the German space company Telespazio VEGA Deutschland have signed an MoU to provide suborbital flight opportunities from Europe on-board the suborbital rocket ARION 1, which is being developed by PLD Space.
For several years, a new spaceflight industry has been growing to exploit high flight frequency and relatively low-cost markets. Among the companies leading such initiatives are PLD Space and Telespazio VEGA Deutschland. Both companies are pioneering efforts to provide the first private suborbital launch service in Europe by 2019.
Historically, access to suborbital space platforms that provide high quality microgravity environments in Europe has been limited, costly, and bureaucratic. Nowadays, it is only possible to achieve this through institutional programs, which can be time consuming as well as limited in the number of launch opportunities; usually offering one or two launches per year.
“This commercial agreement between PLD Space and Telespazio VEGA is, with no doubt and important milestone in the suborbital sector in Europe, and a big step forward to provide suborbital access to space in a commercial manner. We are grateful to count with Telespazio VEGA, which has an important reputation and experience in the suborbital sector” stated Raúl Torres, CEO and Co-founder of PLD Space.
Both scientific and commercial domains can greatly benefit from performing research & development in microgravity conditions, which subsequently boosts European technology and innovation. PLD Space and Telespazio VEGA understand this need, and want to change the way suborbital flight opportunities are provided in Europe to better serve this community.
About PLD Space
Founded in 2011, the Spanish company PLD Space is developing the suborbital rocket ARION 1 to provide increased access to suborbital space from Europe. Their aim is to launch 100 kg of payload beyond the Karman Line (100 km altitude) to expose it to microgravity conditions and return it back to Earth.
To achieve this objective, PLD Space has gained more than 8M€ from private investment and institutional support. Furthermore, it has been recently awarded a 2M€ grant from the European Commission to carry-out the ARION Program.
About Telespazio VEGA Deutschland
Telespazio VEGA Deutschland is a first choice aerospace company for IT and engineering solutions & services, based in Darmstadt, Germany. Over the last decade, the company has been actively promoting the emerging market of commercial suborbital spaceflight. They have successfully brokered the launch of European payloads on-board US suborbital vehicles and are supporting similar service providers in Europe.
In the future, Telespazio VEGA Deutschland aims to be known as the “travel agency” for microgravity payloads, acting as end-to-end broker between client and launch provider. Services range from payload definition, to launch operations up until post-flight return.
Illustration 1. Artistic conception of the ARION 1 suborbital rocket in space