Success of the Miura 1: The 12 minutes that made history

A few minutes are enough to make history. Only a dozen have been enough for the Miura 1 to place Spain on the small list of countries that are capable of manufacturing and placing a satellite outside the confines of the Earth. The flight was divided into two phases. The first half of them, the first six, correspond to the rise phase of the device. The first 30 seconds were especially critical because the rocket had to adopt an orientation of 80 degrees to begin the parabolic flight.

Once this trance was overcome, at about 30 kilometers high, it has reached microgravity conditions – it is what allows the striking images of astronauts floating in their spaceships. In total, there have been about three or four minutes in which most of the planned investigations have been carried out on the hundred kilo load carried by the rocket from the German Center for Applied Space Technology and Microgravity.

Then the Miura 1 has reached its highest point, its apogee. Although it can reach 153 kilometers, on this occasion it has been limited to 80 kilometers in height. It is what is called a suborbital flight, because it manages to leave the Earth’s atmosphere and reach space, but not leave its orbit, which has its limit at 100 kilometers. At that time it was known that there was no fire on the launch ramp, another success if one takes into account that the project aims to reuse the maximum number of components.

2,700 kilometers per hour downhill

From that moment on, the rocket has started on its way back, a maneuver that is carried out at 2,700 kilometers per hour, not too many if you take into account that for any ship to be free of the Earth’s gravitational force, it needs exceed 40,000 kilometers per hour. To stop its descent, the Miura has used air brakes and a parachute that has cushioned its impact in the Atlantic Ocean, where the recovery ship, the ‘Libertad 6’, and another support ship, the ‘Nervio’, have been waiting for it. Both had divers specialized in underwater operations on the high seas and aerial surveillance equipment on board. The load recovery process was scheduled to last four hours.

These already historic twelve minutes are the same ones that Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov spent wandering around his ship, the Voskhod 2, on March 18, 1965. It was the first time that a spacewalk had been carried out. It took 98 minutes for Sputnik, the small satellite weighing 83 kilos and the size of a basketball that inaugurated the space race on October 4, 1957, to circle the planet. The flight of Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to leave the planet, lasted 108 minutes, nine of which were used to enter orbit and the rest to circle the Earth. And on July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the Moon for 150 minutes.

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