GMV invests in PLD Space
GMV has decided to back the project of PLD Space and take a stake in this young space company. GMV will also develop key technology and work jointly with PLD Space in the development of the launchers ARION 1 and ARION 2, boosting the growth of both firms and winning them pole position in the market of small space launchers.
GMV’s corporate backing of PLD Space has freed up a total investment of 6.7 million euros, counting both private investment though an investment fund and a “family office”, both hosted in Valencia Region, and public funding with contributions from CDTI, ENISA, SUMA Teruel, IVF and the European Commission’s SME Instrument.
Under this agreement, GMV, a benchmark firm in the world’s space sector, will be inputting its 30+-year experience and expertise in the sector to develop the complete avionics of ARION 1 and ARION 2, including guidance, navigation and control (GNC), telemetry and onboard software of both launchers. GMV’s team will also be participating jointly with PLD Space in ARION 1 and ARION 2’s integration, qualification and launching-support operations, all during the phase of trial flights and commercial flights. These operations are scheduled to start in late 2018 with the maiden flight of the suborbital launcher ARION 1 from the “El Arenosillo” launch base in Huelva.
Current PLD Space team in the UMH science-park office alongside the full-sized mockup of the suborbital rocket ARION 1
ARION 1 will have two purposes that are crucial for the success of this business initiative. At a commercial level, this rocket will serve as an economical and reusable space access vehicle, for technological development and scientific experimentation in space conditions. At a technological level ARION 1 will be the technological demonstrator and forerunner of a much bigger and more ambitious vehicle, ARION 2, whose mission will be to place satellites of up to 150 kg in space orbit.
With this investment PLD Space will begin the complete development of ARION 1 as well as the necessary facilities for its manufacture, integration, testing and launch. PLD Space’s head offices are currently located in the Science Park (Parque Científico) of the Universidad Miguel Hernández (UMH), while the propulsion testbeds are in Teruel airport. During 2017 the firm will move into its new rocket- and satellite-manufacture and -integration workshop in Elche. PLD Space will also build new testbeds in Teruel to trial its new rocket engines as well as complete rockets for fine tuning before blasting off into space.