The first Spanish carrier rocket “Miura 1” has successfully completed its maiden flight after two failed attempts.

The private rocket was launched towards Earth’s orbit at 2:19 a.m. CEST from the El Arenosillo space station near Huelva in southern Spain and landed as planned in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the Andalusian city after a five-minute flight, said the Spanish startup PLD Space. According to the company, based in Elche in eastern Spain, it is the first private European project to send reusable rockets into orbit.

It was said that all goals were achieved on the maiden flight. The small rocket, only twelve meters long, rose to 46 kilometers above the Gulf of Cadiz. It should be recovered in the Atlantic by a team from PLD Space later today. The start had previously been postponed twice this year due to weather.

Company founder and project director Raúl Torres spoke of a “historic” step that had been taken twelve years after PLD Space was founded. “But that’s just the beginning,” he emphasized with a view to “Miura 5”. The planned 36 meter long, two-stage launch vehicle is intended to bring satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms into orbit from 2025. Around 70 percent of the technology developed for “Miura” will be used for “Miura 5”.

Founded in 2011 by Spanish academics Torres and Raúl Verdú, PLD Space now has 150 employees and investments of 65 million euros. It is one of several European start-ups that are in the process of developing mini launch vehicles. They want to serve the booming market for small satellites.