The project AZµL (AZores micro Launcher, “AZUL”) has concluded that it is both economically and technically viable to operate a Micro-Launcher service from Malbusca in Santa Maria, Azores. The launchers used belong to ORBEX, the British company with which Elecnor-Deimos has signed an agreement and of which it is a shareholder. These launchers are ideal for such location as they are small, safe and clean vehicles, being able to take up to 200 Kg to a 500 km altitude orbit. Given their small size – less than 20 m long – they can be operated from simpler infrastructures, having a greater operating flexibility and a lower impact on the launch zone, all together with competitive prices.
The Azores Spaceport provides access to the most commercially attractive orbits for these satellites, also offering advantages in the air and maritime traffic management and has better climate conditions with respect to other possible locations in Europe. Furthermore, it meets the security conditions necessary for critical operations. This spaceport makes Portugal one of the eight privileged countries in the world to have access to space, as it has its spaceport in EU at less than 1500 km from the continental Europe, while Kourou, the current ESA launch center, is 7000 km away from Paris, in the French Guiana.
The conclusions of this project are successful, proving that it is absolutely viable to operate a Micro-Launcher service from Malbusca in Santa Maria, Azores, using small, safe and clean vehicles.