Category: English

English news articles

  • INNOSPACE signs an MoU with Andøya Spaceport

    Andøya Spaceport and INNOSPACE has signed a memorandum of understanding to launch into polar and sun-synchronous orbits from Norway.

    INNOSPACE was established in 2017 and is headquartered in South Korea, providing manufacturing and engineering services for aerospace and defence contractors.

    The company is developing a series of satellite launch vehicles named Hanbit.

    – This MoU with INNOSPACE shows how Andøya Spaceport is able to attract the attention of commercial companies world-wide, says Ingun Berget, President of Andøya Spaceport. – We are very excited to have INNOSPACE onboard as we move forward with the launch site construction.

    – Andoya Spaceport is really the ideal location for launches towards polar and sun-synchronous orbits, says Dr. Soojong Kim, CEO of INNOSPACE. – Selecting strategic locations around the world brings us closer to our customers.

    About Andøya Spaceport

    Andøya Spaceport is a 100 % owned subsidiary of Andøya Space, focusing on providing a launch site and related services for companies who wish to launch small satellites into polar and sun-synchronous orbits.

    More information

    For more information, please contact Ingun Berget, president, Andøya Spaceport.

  • CREX-2 successfully launched

    The CREX-2 sounding rocket mission was successfully launched from Andøya Space December 1st, 2021.

    NASA’s Cusp Region Experiment-2, also known as CREX-2, is the final research rocket to launch in the international project Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp.

    – The project consisted of 12 rockets from three nations, says Kolbjørn Blix, Director of Sounding rockets at Andøya Space. – USA, Norway, and Japan. The Japanese mission successfully launched about a month ago from our launch facilities at Svalbard.

    The main objective of the project is to investigate the polar cusp region, a region formed by Earth’s magnetic field.

    – The magnetic field forms a kind of a funnel stretching from our atmosphere down towards Earth’s core, and inside this funnel the air is noticeable denser than elsewhere, says Kolbjørn. – This affects polar orbiting satellites, as they hit a kind of speed bump when they pass through this area.

    Image with visualization of Earth and its magnetic field in the correct scale
    Visualization of Earth and its magnetic field in the correct scale.

    The participants in the Grand Challenge-project share all their research data with each other, making it possible to achieve greater insight into this highly interesting cusp region.

    CREX-2 is led by Professor Mark Conde from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the vehicle was built at NASA Wallops.

    – The rocket carried 20 canisters of vapor tracers which was released into the atmosphere, says Kolbjørn. – Each of these canisters created a small cloud which was then observed by two ground stations at Svalbard and by an airplane flying out from Iceland.

    CREX-2 launch from Andøya Space seen from Andenes

    – The movement of these tiny clouds observed from multiple angles will help scientists understand more about the physics in the cusp area, says Kolbjørn.

    The sounding rocket was launched from Andøya on December 1st, at 0925 UTC, and reached an apogee at about 634 kilometers.

    – The flight was nominal, and they launched into perfect scientific conditions, says Kolbjørn. – The scientists are very, very happy today.

    Read more

    Read more about the Grand Challenge project here:

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • Sounding rocket SS-520-3 launched from Svalbard

    The Japanese research rocket SS-520-3 was launched from Ny-Ålesund November 4th, 2021, to investigate the cusp region as a part of the Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp.

    The cusp region is a funnel created by Earth’s magnetic field, and the region is the focus of a project spanning several research teams with twelve sounding rockets. The Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp is designed to advance the common understanding of the space physics in the cusp region.

    The Japanese rocket’s specific purpose was to investigate the microscopic mechanism of the ion acceleration/heating in the cusp region by carrying out high time resolution in-situ measurements of the plasma particles and plasma waves.

    Video of the SS-520-3 liftoff from the Andøya Space launch site at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard. Video by Thomas Gansmoe, used with permission.

    The two-stage sounding rocket had a nominal, suborbital flight and was able to successfully make in-situ measurements of the cusp region. Telemetry antennas at Ny-Ålesund, Longyearbyen and Andøya participated in the mission.

    The rocket reached an apogee of about 750 km.

    Principal investigator for this mission was Professor Yoshifumi Saito from JAXA.

    More to read

    Read more about the Grand Challenge Initiative here:

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • The Grand Challenge Initiative – How to get the most science out of a sounding rocket

    Sounding rockets are used to investigate the atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field and have been launched from Andøya since 1962. Sounding rockets are cheap compared to satellite missions, but they still come with a price tag. So how can the amount of scientific data be increased and the yield from such missions maximized?

    – The answer is to launch several sounding rockets at the same time, along with doing measurements by instruments on other platforms, from the ground, from balloons, and from satellites in orbit, says Kolbjørn Blix at Andøya Space.

    This is what the Grand Challenge Initiative is doing in two projects. The Initiative is a large-scale, international collaboration targeting advancement in specific, fundamental issues in space and Earth science.

    – By taking these independently initiated missions and coordinating them we saw a tremendous increase in scientific return, says Blix.

    Science data from all platforms involved is shared amongst the participants, giving researchers access to a larger data set than what they otherwise would be able to obtain individually.

    Illustration of the cusp, the part of the Earth's magnetic field that funnels down into the polar regions
    The cusp is the part of the Earth’s magnetic field that funnels down into the polar regions.

    Project Cusp

    The first project, called Project Cusp, investigates the physics of the heating and the charged particles in the cusp region of the ionosphere.

    The cusp is the part of the Earth’s magnetic field that funnels down into the polar regions. The ionosphere is the upper part of the atmosphere. Here particles from the solar wind, trapped in the cusp, cause the aurora borealis.

    –Project Cusp includes twelve sounding rockets from three nations; Japan, Norway, and the US, says Blix. He is one of the founders and organizers of The Grand Challenge Initiative.

    The first of these sounding rockets were launched from Andøya and from Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, on a trajectory through the Arctic cusp. At the same time ground-based instruments in Finland, Iceland and Norway observed the same region by remote sensing.

    The two remaining sounding rockets in the project will be launched in the fall of 2021.

    Illustration showing the different layers of spheres in the miccle atmosphere
    The mesosphere and the lower thermosphere are layers of the middle atmosphere.

    Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere

    The success of Project Cusp paved the way for Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere, the second project of the initiative. The mesosphere and the lower thermosphere are layers of the middle atmosphere.

    – Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere will study this part of the atmosphere using a multitude of platforms and instruments, says Blix.

    This project involves several teams of scientists and students from nine countries: Canada, Germany, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Sweden, the UK, and the US.

    Measurements from more parts of the world

    – This project will be looking at the middle atmosphere and investigations can be done not just in the Arctic but in other parts of the world as well, by combining measurements from sounding rockets with data taken from balloon, airplane, satellite and the ground, says Blix.

    All these investigations must be coordinated and grouped together so that they best complement each other and maximize the scientific return.

    – This also gives us a redundancy in instrumentation, which is another advantage of doing things this way, Blix says.

    As in Project Cusp, Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere will have a common database for adding and sharing data as easily and as efficiently as possible.

    Launches planned for 2023

    Although it has been difficult for the scientists and students in the Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere to meet due to corona restrictions, the project had successful preparatory workshops both in the summer of 2020 and 2021.

    – These workshops were parts of the virtual scientific conferences CEDAR 2020 and 2021, and eighty researchers from our nine participating countries met on video where we had presentations and status updates about the individual projects involved, Blix says.

    He hopes it will be possible for the participants to meet in person at a conference in New Orleans in December 2021.

    The first sounding rockets in the Project Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere will be launched from Andøya Space in 2023.

    More to read

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • Andøya Space appoints Tore Østby as new CFO

    Andøya Space strengthens its executive team by selecting Tore Østby as the chief financial officer.

    Tore brings extensive leadership and strategic experience from a variety of industries to Andøya Space, says CEO Ketil Olsen. – We look forward to him joining the executive team at Andøya in these exciting times as we grow our business in several areas. A confident and experienced management team with the right mindset is vital for Andøya Space to succeed in the years ahead.

    CFO of Andøya Space, Tore Østby

    Mr. Østby has previously held positions within Norwegian Air Shuttle, Nordea Markets, Handelsbanken and Orkla, primarily working in the finance sector for the past thirty years. At Norwegian Air Shuttle he held positions such as acting CFO and executive vice president for strategic development.

    He is a certified European Financial Analyst from the NHH Norwegian School of Economics, and he also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Norwegian Business School BI.

    In his new role he will be reporting to CEO Ketil Olsen.

    -I am looking forward to join Andøya Space and be part of the team to develop one of the leading European spaceports and to strengthen Norway as an important space nation. I am very excited to meet all my news colleagues and contribute to building on the great history at Andøya Space, says Tore Østby

    He will join the company January 1st, 2022.

    About Andøya Space

    Andøya Space provides services to science and engineering communities worldwide and enables customers to safely test, launch, fly, research, gain new knowledge, and to create new technologies that benefits our society. Andøya Space has almost 60 years of experience in the development of payloads and sensor technologies for sounding rockets, ground-based instrumentation, unmanned aircraft and is in the process of establishing a launch site for small satellites at Andøya.

  • A spaceport at Andøya

    On August 18th, 1962, Andøya Space launched Norway’s first civilian suborbital research rocket. On October 8th, 2021, almost 60 years and over 1 200 launches later, the Norwegian government gave us their approval to take the next exciting step towards orbital launches. This is the beginning of a new Norwegian space era!

    What are we going to build and when?

    Andøya Space is building Norway’s first commercial satellite launching facility, entering the European investment in NewSpace capabilities. The new facility will be located roughly 30 kilometers south of the existing rocket range, which launches sounding rockets to research atmospheric phenomena.

    With government funding now secured, start of construction is imminent in preparation to support the first launches planned from Andøya in 2023.

    Illustration of a satellite launch vehicle speeding away from Andøya towards polar low Earth orbit
    A satellite launch vehicle is speeding away from Andøya towards polar low Earth orbit.

    Why Andøya?

    Andøya Space launched their first rocket “Ferdinand 1” from Andøya in 1962, just five years after the launch of the Sputnik satellite. Since then, more than 1,200 rockets have been launched to investigate the atmosphere on behalf of organisations like NASA. This has built a leading expertise in launching, data gathering and safety.

    In addition to Andøya’s decades of experience, the geographical location of Andøya also holds multiple advantages.

    Andøya is located at the northern tip of Vesterålen, with large open sea areas and relatively little air traffic. This means safer launches with bigger safety margins and direct access to both polar and sun synchronous orbits from Andøya. This is key for commercial satellites.

    Why do we need a spaceport?

    Modern society is truly dependent on space technology, and not just for critical functions such as weather forecasting, climate research, and search and rescue.

    Whether you’re making a card payment in a shop, using your smart phone to find your way in an unfamiliar city, or using internet onboard an airplane. We all use infrastructure in space to connect us, maybe more than we realize.

    In the past it has been extremely expensive and time consuming to build satellites, but in line with technological development, satellites have shrunk both in size and cost. Satellites are no longer the size of a truck; they are more like a refrigerator or a microwave oven, and with smaller satellites, reduced costs to place them into orbit follows. This, and the ability to launch multiple small satellites together, is making space accessible like nothing before, and thus demand is increasing.

    Illustration of satellites being released from launch vehicle

    What are we going to use these satellites for?

    Satellites help us to solve a range of problems and are becoming more and more important every day. For example, we are dependent on information from earth observation satellites if we are to understand, monitor and find solutions to climate challenges.

    Norway is a leader in merchant shipping and was an early user of satellite communication to maintain contact with the merchant fleet. Not having access to data from navigation satellites is almost unthinkable, and modern weather forecasting would be almost impossible without weather satellites.

    The space industry is in constant development. For example: Several networks are being developed that can offer broadband in remote places via satellite at a reasonable price. Experiments are being carried out to make satellites work as relay stations for cell phones and new solutions are being developed to allow transport companies to track vehicles and containers in real time via satellite.

    Why will doing this be good for Norway and Europe?

    Space technology will continue to be more and more important, and Norway is already at the leading edge of development and satellite communication. There are many Norwegian firms who produce components for satellites and launch systems, and the Norwegian ground station on Svalbard already handles the most satellite communication in the world.

    A spaceport at Andøya will meet the demand and capability for the whole of Europe, be an advantage for the Norwegian space industry, and generate employment in the region of Vesterålen and beyond. Our spaceport has already attracted interest from technology, defence, education, and research sectors across the world.

    Who are our customers?

    The rocket owners are our customers, and Andøya Space will offer launch opportunities to customers who wish to launch satellites into orbit.

    So far, we have signed a long term binding agreement with Isar Aerospace.

    Illustration of launch vehicle being launched from Andøya Spaceport

    Is the development sustainable?

    Andøya Space are going to develop a service, that not only creates value and jobs, but will also be sustainable. We have to consider other businesses and the environment around us. During the planning phase of the launch base, impact assessments were carried out, and during establishment and running of the spaceport we will maintain focus on reducing the negative consequences the development will have on nature and the environment. Pollution will be reduced to a minimum, and what is unavoidable will be compensated for.

    Even though both building and running will lead to pollution, the project will give positive effects on the grander scale: Satellites will give us the necessary knowledge to use the worlds resources more sustainably.

    More information

    Do you have questions about the Norwegian spaceport?

  • Fly a rocket from the Arctic

    In October, European students took part in the Fly a Rocket! campaign at Andøya.

    All photos: ESA Education

    The Fly a Rocket! programme offers a chance to learn about rocketry for University students early in their studies. During the stay in Northern Norway they have the chance to launch their very own rocket from Andøya Space.

    – The Fly a Rocket! programme gives entry-level university students the opportunity to work on an operational launch site and experience a rocket campaign first hand. During the launch campaign the students are supported by professionals, but are in charge of their own rocket. For the students it is a great way to complement their academic education with practical experience, explains Maximilian Nürmberger, at ESA’s Education Office.

    Students participation in the "Fly a Rocket!" programme

    Fly a Rocket! 2021

    This year, 24 participating students travelled to Andøya from 17 different European countries to work together on their very own rocket. For a few days, they collaborated in groups as scientists and engineers to plan, build, test and assemble a rocket payload with a selection of scientific sensors. The payload was then integrated in a 2.7 meters long customized Mongoose rocket, made of carbon fiber.

    Illustration of the sounding rocket used for student launches
    The student sounding rocket is a customized commercially available Mongoose rocket. Credit: Andøya Space.

    During their week at Andøya Space, the students were given a guided tour of Andøya Space and a few lectures from people working in the Norwegian space industry.

    – The amazing staff helped us all along the process and tutored us and we had the most amazing co-students from all over the world. Driven people with passion is my favorite kind of people, and this week was full of these people, says Georgios Psaltakis, a participating student.

    Some of the students gathered outside of Andøya Space

    On launch day, the students were in control of the rocket operation together with personnel at Andøya Space. Working as a team, they launched their rocket named “Aurora” on Thursday, October 14th 2021.

    After the launch, the students quickly began working on the collected rocket data, analyzing what the different sensor experiments gathered during the flight 9 km into the atmosphere.

    – Last week has been a dream come true, writes Claudia Guerra, who also participated. – I spent last year wondering whether we would be able to do it and waiting for an email telling me the programme got cancelled. But that email never came and here we are after successfully launching a rocket! The campaign itself was amazing and really interesting, but what made it even better was the people I got to meet and work with. I hope we get to see each other again around Europe soon!

    Students working on the payload for the student sounding rocket

    Friends for life

    Perhaps equally important as the educational part and the rocket operation itself was the social experience for all the students. Each of them came from different places, not knowing the others in advance. They had worked with pre-course material digitally before coming to Andøya, but this week they spent long days together getting to know each other, making valuable international contacts and friends for life.

    – It was a great adventure. We did not only build a rocket and launched it, we also became really good friends and I think that is the best part. Thank you for the wonderful experience, said Viktoria Kutnohorsky, who participated in the campain.

    Ingrid Hjelle agrees: – I had the best week at Andøya Space, participating in the Fly a Rocket! campaign. Thank you Andøya Space Education, Norwegian Space Agency and ESA Education for this opportunity, and a big, big thank you to all the wonderful people I’ve met during this week. Hope we meet again!

    – Thank you to everyone, it was incredible and I won’t forget this experience, writes Jasmine Brittan, who also participated.

    Students in front of the finished payload

    Do you want to be a part of Fly a Rocket!?

    Follow ESA Education and Andøya Space Education online for opportunities that may change the course of your space career.

    More information

    Contact Andøya Space Education

  • Ketil Olsen steps up as interim CEO for Andøya Space

    The board of Andøya Space has appointed Ketil Olsen as interim CEO of Andøya Space. He has worked as Chief Operating Officer (COO) since 2020, and starts in the new role immediately today, October 14th, 2021.

    Olsen will succeed Odd-Roger Enoksen, who has agreed to become Minister of Defence in the new Norwegian government.

    Experienced leader

    – Olsen is an experienced leader with good results from various positions in the Norwegian Department of Defence and defence staff, as well as international positions in NATO. Olsen has led tactical as well as operational and strategical military units. With experience from international service and spending almost ten years in NATO, he has gained a large network and is well familiar with the challenges and benefits of working with other nationalities, says chairman Rasmus Sunde.

    The board is very pleased that Olsen’s long and solid experience will benefit Andøya Space immediately. The company strategy stays the same as Andøya Space enters a challenging yet exciting period: Last week the company received the final ‘GO’ from the government to build a launch site for small satellites on Andøya.

    – Enoksen has had a clear vision and strategy for Andøya Space, and the investment into space, for many years, which has provided great results. The company has delivered profitable growth under the leadership of Enoksen, while at the same time successfully secured its sectorial-policy objectives. The company is well positioned to further develop this through its competent employees. The board wants to thank Odd Roger for the cooperation and his effort for the company throughout the years, and to wish him the best of luck as a minister, says chairman Sunde.

    Business as usual

    – Our focus on space will continue with local, regional, and national investment together with international actors. We will follow up on the expectations and goals put forward by the Norwegian government in the best way possible. Together we will establish and run a spaceport at the same time as we continue our work within sounding rockets, drones, space education, and test center activities, Olsen concludes.

    The Board of Director will immediately start the process of appointing a permanent CEO.

    More information

    Contact Andøya Space

  • Safer flights for drones and small aircraft

    Operating drones in sub-zero temperatures can cause both damage and lead to loss of vehicle. How can we make flights safer for drones and small piloted aircraft during winter and at higher latitude?

    Commercial drones and small aircraft are utilized more and more the world over, for a wide range of applications, such as agriculture, construction, communication, surveillance and transportation of goods. The use of drones is expected to increase greatly in the years ahead.

    However, drones risk icing while flying in sub-zero temperatures and have no way of de-icing. Thus, operating drones in sub-zero conditions introduces the risk of rotor failure and crashing to the ground, which can result in damage to or loss of the airborne platform, the freight, or in the worst case scenario, damage or injury to third parties’ health or property.

    How can flight safety in sub-zero temperatures be increased to enable drones and small aircraft to operate during winter and at higher latitudes? This is the aim of the IceSafari project.

    The IceSafari project is a cooperation between Andøya Space with partners in Norway and Romania. The project aims to increase flight safety for drones and small aircraft by avoiding icing conditions, which occur at temperatures below 0ºC and high humidity, like in supercooled fog and clouds.

    A key project

    – For Andøya Space, IceSafari is an important project, because we make use of our expertise on rocket payloads to serve a new scientific community. The research focus is the lower part of the atmosphere using research aircrafts and drones. In addition, our own increasing drone and aircraft activities will gain safety, since icing conditions are common at our latitudes, says Michael Gausa, Director of Research and Development.

    The project aims to obtain data in three flight campaigns, planned to take place in Norway, Poland and Romania. The sensor and instrument development through IceSafari is expected to be a door opener for future participation in international satellite validation campaigns and in further activities related to research and applied science.

    – Flight campaigns for scientific research is a new but growing sector for us here at Andøya Space, which we are very excited to do, Gausa says.

    Illustration of unmanned aircraft
    Unmanned aircraft may avoid bad weather with the IceWarn sensor.

    The IceWarn sensor

    The IceSafari project will develop a cluster of sensors called IceWarn, an early warning system of icing conditions for commercial drones, enabling them to avoid areas with such conditions.

    In order to develop this early warning system, the IceSafari team first needs to advance the understanding of mixed-phase clouds. These are clouds that consist of super cooled liquid droplets and ice particles and pose the greatest threat to drones and aircraft due to icing.

    Image of sky and ocean
    The IceWarn sensor will warn the pilot of icing conditions.

    The IceWarn sensor system will monitor the ambient conditions of the air and evaluate the risk of icing. If icing conditions are imminent, the system will alert the pilot of the impending danger.

    The engineering team at Andøya Space will first select sensors that can endure condensation and precipitation at low temperatures. They will conduct both field and laboratory studies to identify which sensors are best suited for such work.

    IceWarn must also be extremely lightweight and energy efficient in order to be suitable for drone platforms.

    The HoloScene cloud probe

    However, measuring the correct temperature and humidity is not sufficient alone to determine icing conditions, and the amount of super cooled liquid in mixed-phase clouds depends on complex microphysics at the micrometer scale.

    Calculations of super cooled liquid droplets have been a challenge in both numerical weather predictions and climate simulations for years.

    The development of IceWarn needs comprehensive knowledge of the microphysics of mixed-phase clouds in temperatures between -38 and 0 °C. This will require an extensive dataset of airborne in-situ measurements of the properties of mixed-phase clouds.

    Therefore, the IceSafari team at Andøya Space will, together with their partners, develop an aircraft certified holographic cloud probe called HoloScene. The probe is based on earlier models, originally used on tethered balloons, gondolas etc. HoloScene will measure the cloud droplet, ice crystal size and number concentration, as well as the spatial distribution of cloud particles, in order to develop the numerical models that IceWarn needs.

    Partnership with Romania

    The cooperation in IceSafari will establish a long-term partnership between Norwegian and Romanian research institutions. These are Andøya Space, the National Institute for Aerospace Research “Elie Carafoli” (INCAS) in Romania, the University of Oslo in Norway and the University of Bucharest in Romania (UBFF).

    This collaboration will strengthen the capabilities of the partners to conduct airborne cloud research and related numerical modeling in order to advance the frontier of research on climate change, severe weather and icing phenomena.

    The partnership will train master and PhD students in a broad specter of scientific and engineering fields to ensure a complete cycle of knowledge and transfer between the participants, and to support the effort of Romanian organizations to increase their participation in European and international research and development programs.

    Image with IceSafari and Norway grants logo

    The IceSafari project is funded by UEFISCDI under the research programme associated with Norwegian Financial Mechanism 2014-2012 – Norway Grants. Project code RO-NO-2019-0423.

    Point of Contact at Andøya Space:

    Michael Gausa, Director of Research & Development

    Read more

    You can read more about the project here:

  • A virtual space mission for students

    The educational activities at Andøya Space benefits greatly from having access to the infrastructure and people of Andøya Space. What better way to learn about space than using real equipment and talking to the professionals in the field? But not all students can travel to Andøya, especially during a pandemic.

    Andøya Space offers two online “space missions” for students in lower and upper secondary school in a project called Andøya Mission Control. These missions are performed in the students’ own classrooms over internet. A successful mission require teamwork and the ability to turn theoretical knowledge into practical solutions.

    The educational simulations are called Mission: Solar Storm (Oppdrag: Solstorm) and Mission Mars (Oppdrag: Mars). In Mission: Solar Storm, the students act as ground control and must help repair a broken satellite before a solar storm reaches Earth, damage the satellite, and endanger the astronaut in space.

    In Mission: Mars, the students are responsible for sending a rover to the red planet to search for signs of water and life. The students must work together with a mission pilot in order to program the rover for this task. After the mission, the students analyze the collected data from the Martian surface.

    Illustration of mission patch for mission mars

    Introductions for the teacher

    – As a science teacher with a personal interest in space and space exploration, I was curious to see how “Mission: Mars” would work with our students, says Stine Skarshaug at Molde Videregående Skole.

    Her students are aged 16 to 19, and she used “Mission: Mars” for her students in Technology and Research, one of the electable courses at the VG2 and VG3 level of Norwegian high school education.

    The course gives practical insight into how academia and industry make use of science and technology, and includes software coding, working with electronics, and learning about research methods.

    ­– Before introducing “Mission: Mars” to their students, the teachers attend a half-day introductory training course which explains how to use and solve the mission, Skarshaug says.

    Math, physics, and coding

    Prior to the mission, the students were divided into specialized groups which all reported back to Mission Control.

    The mission itself lasted about 70 minutes. Afterwards, the students worked with and analyzed the data from the rover, before writing their own reports from the mission covering the tasks of their group and the results.

    – We spent about four weeks overall, from preparing the mission, to solving it, and completing the report. The mission includes side tasks and the teacher can adjust the number of these to fit the schedule and progression of their course, Skarshaug says.

    The mission tasks are also adjustable according to the age of the students and their experience with math, physics, coding, geology, and other science subjects.

    – “Mission: Mars” includes a large package of preparatory material for the teacher. With this the mission can be tailored to any class and level from ages 13 and up, Skarshaug says.

    She recommends that the students have some experience with science, math and particularly software coding before embarking on the mission.

    Illustration of mission patch for mission solar storm

    A useful, flexible, and fun tool

    – Several of the students were already interested in space and space exploration, but all students enjoyed the new and different way of learning in “Mission: Mars”, says Skarshaug.

    She found it not only fun for students and teacher alike, but also a useful and flexible tool for education.

    – I highly recommend Mission: Mars to other teachers, as it can easily be adjusted to different types of classes and subjects, covers multiple goals for the Technology and Research course at VG2, and demonstrates how science and technology are used in real life, says Skarshaug.

    More information

    Contact Andøya Space Education.

  • Rocket Factory Augsburg secures launch site in Andøya, Norway

    Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA) has signed a contract with Norway’s Andøya Space, securing one of the most coveted launch sites in Europe.

    “This agreement secures launch capacity to cover the first years of operation for us. We are very happy that Europe’s most advanced rocket launch complex is partnering with us. We have everything in place now from launch site, over customers to traction on the development program to get the first launch campaign going”, says Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer of RFA. “Flexible access to space from continental Europe aids RFA in offering its customers the best and most cost-effective launch service for their payloads.”

    Illustration of future launch site at Andøya
    The future launch site at Andøya

    “A partnership with Rocket Factory is another big milestone for the European New Space Industry”, says Odd Roger Enoksen, CEO and President of Andøya Space. “We look forward to supporting their ambitious launch cadence from our spaceport. Our relationship with RFA has grown strong through the past years and we are particularly proud that RFA continues to be part of our vision to create a competitive European New Space industry.”

    “Andøya’s unique location allows us to offer a flexible, ultra-competitive launch service for orbital inclinations ranging from 87 to 108 degrees. The launch site is easily accessible within Europe and can help to strengthen our space launch industry”, Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operational Officer of RFA added.

    Andøya Space got their zonal area approval September 2020 and have permit for 30 launches per year from their new spaceport 35 km south of the existing launch site. The spaceport’s location, 69 degrees north and above the Arctic circle on the coastline of Andøya in Nordland county has a flightpath that ensures a trajectory whose ground track does not cross populated areas. Andøya Space, provides launch pads, payload integration facilities as well as the technical infrastructure on site.

    About Andøya Space

    Andøya Space has provided launch services for sounding rockets since 1962. The company is also involved in scientific ground-based instrumentation, unmanned aircraft, space education and testing/verification of new technologies. Andøya Space is from 2022 expanding its portfolio to include a launch site for small satellites to polar and sun-synchronous orbit. Andøya Space AS is 90 % owned by The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries.

    About RFA

    Rocket Factory was founded in 2018 by Jörn Spurmann and Stefan Brieschenk, investor Hans Steininger and German satellite company OHB SE. The goal of the start-up is to develop a launch vehicle prototype by the end of 2022, which will lift satellites into low-Earth orbit on a weekly basis at unrivalled prices. Rocket Factory aims for exponential growth in the booming New Space market. The start-up’s goal is to combine highest system performances with ultra-low-cost manufacturing and design principles. Rocket Factory will deliver satellites precisely into orbit with a unique orbital transfer vehicle, thinking space transportation from the satellite and customer point of view. The launcher will offer an end-to-end solution with its last mile delivery service. The launch vehicle combines three key competitive advantages: ultra-low-cost architecture, precise in-orbit delivery and superior propulsion technology. The start-up has established itself in Augsburg and currently has a team of 85 (as of February 2021) New Space veterans from 25 different nationalities, with a demonstrated track-record established in international launch vehicle development projects.

    For more information, visit:

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  • Andøya Space contributes to Latvian innovation center

    Andøya Space Education aims to inspire children and students both in Norway and abroad through world class space education. When a space innovation center is currently being built in Latvia, it is done in collaboration with Andøya Space.

    Andøya Space Education has signed an agreement with Cēsis Municipality to contribute to the establishment of an innovation center in Latvia. Onboard is also Riga Technical University.

    The goal of the project is to promote the development of knowledge and career choices in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by establishing an innovation center in Cēsis, Latvia, focusing on space.

    The innovation center will be based on bilateral cooperation, where educational programs, workshops, co-working places, maker-labs, and other interactive activities in the STEM area are developed for school children and students, teachers and preschool children, and their parents.

    – We are exited and inspired about this project as it will create new jobs, increase tourism and economic development in Cēsis region, as well as make STEM education innovative and more interesting, says Ilze Sestule, public relations project manager at Cēsis municipality.

    Cēsis has looked to Andøya for inspiration when developing the content of their new innovation center, as Andøya Space has been launching science rockets since 1962 and has more than two decades with space education experience.

    – We look forward to working with Cēsis Municipality in this project, says Marcos Fraga, the project lead at Andøya Space. – For us, innovating and collaborating with Cēsis aligns perfectly with our corporate values.

    The project has been funded through EEA and Norway grants organization.

    More information

    Contact Andøya Space Education.

  • Isar Aerospace signs exclusive launch pad in Norway for up to 20 years

    The first fully privately-financed European launch vehicle bringing satellites into low Earth orbit, Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum rocket, will launch from Norway: Isar Aerospace has signed an agreement with Norwegian Andøya Space to secure exclusive access for a period of up to twenty years to one of its launch pads on the island Andøya.

    As a launch site operator, Andøya Space provides launch pads, payload integration facilities as well as the technical infrastructure on site.

    Illustration of the future orbital launch site at Andøya
    The future orbital launch site at Andøya

    – We are very happy and proud that we were able to secure our dedicated launch pad on Andøya, the best funded spaceport in continental Europe. The length and the exclusive nature of this agreement enables us to provide long-term turnkey launch solutions from European soil, says Daniel Metzler, CEO of Isar Aerospace. – The exclusivity provides us and, even more importantly, our clients with the greatest flexibility and planning security to bring small and medium satellites into earth’s orbit at any time with maximum flexibility and cost-efficiency.

    Given its location far north at a coastline, Andøya Space can offer launch inclinations ranging from 87.4 to 108 degrees. These are favorable for sun synchronous as well as polar orbits. The flightpath ensures a trajectory whose ground track does not cross populated areas.

    – This partnership is a big milestone for the European New Space industry as we will see the first satellite launches ever from a European start-up from European soil. We believe this is just the beginning of delivering on a global demand for launch capacities in Europe. It is with pleasure that we announce our partnership with Isar Aerospace which for us is expected to be one of the winners in this market in the coming years. We strongly believe in joint European initiatives and are proud to be part of this great space endeavor with Isar Aerospace, says Odd Roger Enoksen, CEO and President of Andøya Space.

    Andøya Space has a long history in the suborbital launch business. Since the first launch of a civilian, suborbital research rocket in 1962, around 1.200 launches of sounding rockets and long duration balloons have taken place at Andøya. The company is now in the process of establishing a new launch site on Andøya island for small and medium satellites for polar and sun-synchronous orbits.

    Image of nature on Andøya and Isar Aerospace's rocket, Spectrum

    Isar Aerospace has been developing its Spectrum launch vehicle with a payload of over 1.000 kilograms including proprietary propulsion systems. With a pragmatic engineering approach, highly automated in-house manufacturing and a simple design, Isar Aerospace will reduce the costs of each rocket launch drastically. The founder-led company ensured that almost the entire value creation is carried out in-house for maximum flexibility. The total funding amounting to more than USD 100m stems almost exclusively from European investors.

    About Isar Aerospace

    Isar Aerospace, based in Ottobrunn/Munich, develops and builds launch vehicles for transporting small and medium-sized satellites as well as satellite constellations into earth’s orbit. The company was founded in 2018 by Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann and Markus Brandl. Since then, it has grown to more than 120 employees from around 30 nations with many years of hands-on rocket knowhow as well as experience within other high-tech industries. The company is privately financed by former SpaceX VP Bulent Altan as well as world-leading Venture Capital firms including Airbus Ventures, Apeiron, Earlybird, HV Capital, Lakestar, UVC Partners and Vsquared Ventures.

    Find more information under:

    About Andøya Space

    Andøya Space has provided launch services for sounding rockets since 1962. The company is also involved in scientific ground-based instrumentation, unmanned aircraft, space education and testing/verification of new technologies. Andøya Space is from 2022 expanding its portfolio to include a launch site for small satellites. Andøya Space AS is 90% owned by The Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Fisheries.

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  • Where does the water in rain and snow come from?

    The research project ISLAS studies the water cycle in the Norwegian Sea, and where the precipitation in Norway comes from during different weather events. This spring, the ISLAS scientists made simultaneous measurements at Andøya and other locations.

    Isotopic Links to Atmospheric Water’s Sources (ISLAS) is a research project funded by the European Research Council that investigates the water cycle, including its processes during evaporation, transport and mixing, cloud formation and precipitation.

    – The hydrological cycle, with its feedbacks related to water vapor and clouds, is a large source of uncertainty in weather prediction and climate models, says Harald Sodemann, professor in meteorology at the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen and member of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.

    This uncertainty is linked to several of the current major challenges in meteorology and climate research. These challenges include the forecasting of extreme weather events, preparing for the impacts of man-made climate change, but also the understanding of the paleoclimate record from the past.

    However, using precise measurements of stable isotopes in water vapor, rain and snow, the scientists can find out where the water in precipitation comes from, and how it changes from liquid to solid or vapor, and back to liquid again, during its journey through the water cycle in the atmosphere.

    Illustration of cold-air outbreaks and atmospheric river in the Nordic Seas region
    The ISLAS project sampled the local water cycle in the Nordic Seas region at Andenes with stable isotope instrumentation. Image: Harald Sodemann

    A natural laboratory

    -Because the Arctic, the Norwegian Sea and the coast of Norway together create distinct evaporation events, shallow transport processes of water, and swift formation of precipitation, the entire water cycle can be studied here, says Sodemann.

    This is why the ISLAS team visited Andøya Space and its atmospheric observatory Alomar. Together with colleagues from other universities, the ISLAS scientists used Alomar’s lidar and radar systems to investigate ice crystals in clouds and precipitation, and how they change from ice to rain.

    The team also used their own instruments to measure the size and number of raindrops, the stable isotopes in water vapor, and other aspects of the water cycle.

    – We brought a lot of instruments to Andøya in order to do many types of measurements at the same time in the same location, so that we can gain a detailed understanding of the processes of the water cycle here, says Sodemann.

    Simultaneous measurements

    The ISLAS instruments were located both at Alomar, at 380 meters height, and near sea level below the mountain where Alomar is located. In this way the scientists hoped to gain information about how much water raindrops absorb as they fall through the lower atmosphere, as well as data about other precipitation processes that take place on the way from cloud to ground.

    In addition, the scientists had similar sensors in Tromsø, in order to detect the horizontal gradient between Andøya and Tromsø.

    – Even though these locations are not that far apart, we nevertheless expect clear differences between them, for example the time when a storm arrives at both places, Sodemann says.

    Other sensors are placed in Bergen on the west coast of Norway and at Ny-Ålesund in Svalbard in the high Arctic.

    Improve weather forecasting

    This year’s research campaign for ISLAS was intense, but short. Already on the 1st of April 2021 the scientists completed their measurements and returned home.

    – We nevertheless expect to obtain the data we need, because the highly variable weather here at Andøya gives us many different meteorological events within a short period of time, says Sodemann.

    He and the ISLAS team plan to return to Andøya next spring for more data from the same locations, while hoping to add measurements by plane and ship.

    The results from ISLAS will be used to improve mathematical models of weather and climate, including short-term and high-resolution weather forecasting.

    In addition to the participants from Norway, the ISLAS campaign involves scientists from universities and research institutions both in Europe and in North America.

    – We see that close collaboration with scientists at other research institutions and in other parts of the world is very important to achieve our research goals. For us, it seems essential that what we do creates shared knowledge that benefits society as a whole, Sodemann says.

    A service provider for science

    – We are very pleased to welcome the ISLAS scientists to Andøya, says Michael Gausa, Director of Research and Development at Andøya Space.

    Andøya Space aims to offer operational drone and aircraft services for scientists. Commercial drone operations, as well as training and certification services for these, are already well established. The drone services have a wide range of applications, from maritime surveillance and resource management to search and rescue operations, construction inspection and many more.

    – The ISLAS campaign is an important step to complete our portfolio for scientific airborne operations. It enables us to listen closely to our guests in order to improve our infrastructure and knowledge, and to better reach the international research community and inform them of our drone services for scientific purposes, Gausa says.

    Andøya Space has recently acquired an airplane, which in the future can perform in-situ and remote sensing measurements from the air, in the air, and of the air. This will open new doors for Andøya Space, which has a decades-long experience in sub-orbital launches of sounding rockets and research balloons and is building a launch site for small satellites.

    Andøya and its location well above the Arctic circle, on the coast of the Norwegian Sea, is especially well suited for space, atmospheric and climate research.

    – With our newly acquired plane we will soon have the capacity to be a full-service provider for scientific research that is dependent on measurements by drone or by plane, Gausa says.

  • Drones for keeping an eye on the ocean

    Managing the natural resources of the ocean, the coastline and the continental shelf requires surveillance of large areas.

    Traditionally this have been done with satellites in combination with manned ocean vessels and aircraft. Patrolling and controlling borders and delineations in international waters is part of resource management at sea. As is detecting and tracing oil spills from ships, the dumping of refuse by vessels, release of bilge water with non-native species, tracking air pollution from maritime traffic, and more.

    Drones and remote-controlled vessels, either in the air or on the waves, are on their way to making maritime surveillance easier, more effective and less costly. In maritime surveillance drones are used among other for monitoring maritime traffic and activities in fishing and breeding grounds.

    Image of ocean and rocks near shore

    Drones for scientific research

    Approximately 71 percent of the Earth is covered by ocean, and there is still much we have yet to discover in and about it.

    Drones are used for documenting and mapping algal blooms that may threaten fisheries or aquaculture, or plastic refuse that collects on the beaches along the coast and are a hazard to wildlife. Because drones are smaller and disturb wildlife much less than manned vessels do, they may collect other types of data than traditional monitoring methods.

    Thus, we are likely to see an increasing number of unmanned vehicles, not only in the air, but also at sea in the future. These unmanned vehicles will often work in combination with manned vehicles, satellites, and in-situ sensors.

    Illustration of drone helicopter operating in rain with coast guard ship in the background
    Andøya Space is testing the use of drone helicopters

    Helicopter drones at sea

    Due to the greater distances and longer flight times over open sea, the drones used for maritime surveillance tend to be larger than drones used over land. The market for maritime surveillance by drones is nevertheless growing quickly. Maritime surveillance may also require drones that can be deployed and operated from ships at sea. Andøya Space are therefore testing the use of special drone helicopters onboard ships of the Norwegian Coast Guard and the Governor in Svalbard. Such helicopter drones may also assist in emergency operations at sea in the Arctic, a region where the harsh environment requires a particularly rapid and accurate response during emergencies.

    Illustration of drone flying

    What we do

    At Andøya Space we deliver information, data, and documentation to our clients through drones, including drones for maritime surveillance. We have been operating drones since the 1990s and are a full capacity assistance provider for all stages of drone operations, for maritime surveillance, scientific research, construction inspection and insurance, emergency response, search and rescue, and more.

    One of our largest customers in civilian maritime surveillance today is the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies for oil spill preparedness, prevention, mapping and documentation. We provide an around-the-clock drone service in case of oil spill events, offering certified drone pilots if needed.

    Among our partners in the fields of science and environmental protection are the Norwegian Institute for Water Research and Innovation Norway.

    Andøya Space is also part of a consortium led by Boeing’s Phantom Works; the Integrated Remote Sensing for the Arctic (IRSA) Development Group. IRSA wants to increase the situational awareness north of the Arctic circle using a network of satellites, drones and ground-based installations. IRSA aims to deploy drones in the air, on the ocean and below the ocean surface. The network will aid both search and rescue operations as well as contribute to the science communities. Data from IRSA will, among other things, help the Arctic nations to monitor climate change impact.

    Mer informasjon

    Kontakt Andøya Space.

  • Sustainability and space – how satellites help

    More sustainable living includes reducing poverty and hunger, increasing health and well-being, ensuring quality education, having responsible consumption and production, as well as caring for life on land and in water.

    These and other aspects of sustainability are included in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN member states in 2015.

    Satellites and the space sector enable and support these goals in many different ways. The importance of space for communities all over the world will only increase in the future as satellites take on even more essential tasks and become even more important to our societies.

    Commerce, education, health services and more

    Today, telecommunication satellites provide radio, TV and internet signals to all corners of the world. This communication is used for business, education, health services, entertainment, social contact, and much more.

    Thus, satellites bring vital communication even to societies that are so remote or inaccessible that reaching them by transportation is difficult and costly, ensuring and transforming life here.

    For example satellites enable small digital bank terminals in remote locations in Africa, increasing the potential for trade and productivity in these communities.

    At the start of the Covid-19-pandemic, satellite-based telemedicine in Spain provided ambulance personnel quicker and more advanced help from specialist doctors that remained at the hospitals. This is just one example of how satellites through telemedicine may improve health services all over the world.

    Essential functions for modern societies

    Satellite navigation systems such as the American Global Positioning System, Europe’s Galileo, Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou provide signals for positioning, navigation and accurate time.

    These systems are essential for navigation for transport, commerce, and emergency services, but also for accurate positioning data for the construction of buildings, roads, oil wells and other complex structures.

    Satellite navigation systems also provide extremely accurate time. Such data are used in electrical and water grids, for financial transactions and in large computer systems, as well as other services vital to modern societies.

    Today, satellite navigation systems enable the mobile services market and millions of commercial services and applications the world over. In the future, autonomous vehicles and their markets will depend on accurate and ubiquitous navigation signals provided by satellites.

    Satellite image of Andøya
    Satellites cover enormous areas regularly.

    Protecting the Earth’s natural environment

    In order to protect the Earth’s natural environment and large-scale systems, we need to understand them and know how they change over time. This is the task of the Earth observation satellites.

    Because satellites can cover enormous, remote and inaccessible areas quickly and regularly, they are perhaps the best way to monitor the Earth and its systems.

    The European Copernicus program has, together with the European Space Agency, launched several operational satellites to monitor many different environmental factors.

    For example, one type of this program’s satellites provide radar measurements of sea ice and snow cover to see how the world’s ice caps and snow masses change over time.

    Another type of the Copernicus program’s satellites provide optical data of plant cover and vegetation, as well as of wetlands and coastlines. This is used for monitoring forest cutting, the health of food crops, coral reef bleaching, loss of wetlands due to drought or development, and more.

    Copernicus’ Sentinel-3 satellites observe the oceans and its surface temperature, wave height, wind speeds, and several other environmental factors. These data are used for monitoring tropical storms that may threaten communities on land, or surface temperature and ocean acidity that indicate changes in the world’s climate, to mention only a few applications.

    Illustration of Earth observation satellites
    Earth observation satellites are important tools to understand the natural environment we live in.

    Smaller satellites in the future

    As high technology becomes smaller and more accessible, satellites become smaller too, and can be built faster and cheaper, while still being able to perform the duties of larger satellites.

    Norway’s national satellites, AISSat-1, AISSat-2, NorSat-1 and NorSat-2, are all small satellites. Their main task is to monitor ship traffic, used for managing marine resources and oil spill detection to protect life in the ocean.

    HYPSO-1 and HYPSO-2 are Norwegian small satellites that will be launched in a few year’s time. They will be able to detect algal blooms in the ocean. In recent years such algal blooms have killed large amounts of fish and damaged the marine aquaculture business, important to many communities along the coast.

    Most small satellites launched today are used for communication, but in the future, small satellites are expected to perform more and more Earth observation tasks. Thus, small satellites may play an increasingly important role in ensuring and enabling sustainability all over the world in the years to come.

    More information

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  • New names: Andøya Space Education and Andøya Space Defence

    To clarify who we are and what we do, we are renaming the subsidiaries NAROM and Andøya Test Center (ATC). The new names Andøya Space Education and Andøya Space Defence highlights their areas of expertise and their connection to the Andøya Space brand.

    Andøya Space Education

    Andøya Space Education represents the educational part of Andøya Space. Thousands of people are every year inspired by the educational programs we offer, and our visitor center attracts both space-interested pupils as well as tourists.

    Formerly known as NAROM, Andøya Space Education was established twenty years ago to increase recruitment to science, technology and Norwegian space activities. Although the name has been changed, we will continue as a national center to inspire and educate the next generation of scientists and engineers with mandate and funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

    Andøya Space Defence

    In 1997 a test center was established in connection to the sounding rocket launch site at Andøya. The area surrounding the island, and the already established technical infrastructure, enables Andøya Space Defence to perform complex tests of weapon systems.

    Andøya Space Defence will continue to offer a state-of-the-art civilian test range for military capabilities.

    The brand

    Andøya Space is leading in its field both when it comes to testing, drones, sounding rockets and space-related education. Our logo is a stamp of quality, and we will continue to deliver quality services within technology, testing and knowledge in many years to come.

    Mer informasjon

    Kontakt Andøya Space.

  • The story behind our new logo

    Our new logo is a stamp of quality, unity and a leading star in the space industry. But it is also so much more. Take a look behind the scenes to explore the story behind our brand new logo.

    Illustration of the story behind our new logo

    What do you see when you look at our new logo?

    At Andøya Space, we have six decades of experience in the sounding rocket business. Over the years we have taken on yet new ventures: Testing, drones, education and satellites.

    To clarify who we are and what we do, we are currently in the process of streamlining our entire organization under the brand Andøya Space. As a part of this we have developed a new visual identity for the company, highlighting our common identity of collaboration, quality and innovation.

    Together, we enable scientists, students and engineers to achieve mission success and move our world forward.

    A sign of collaboration

    According to the team behind the logo, the symbol encompasses several subjects:

    – The logo symbol is a quality stamp and a guiding star, as Andøya Space is a leading aerospace company, explains Roar Sager, creative leader and designer at Bold Scandinavia. – But what really distinguish Andøya Space from its competitors is the collaboration. Here, customers and employees lift each other to reach the stars.

    The circular shape of the logo symbol can be viewed as a circle of collaboration, but the design is also inspired by space, natural forces and our key fields of operation.

    Photo of Andøya Space employees looking at computer screen and working while smiling

    Innovation and exploration

    At Andøya, we look up and beyond. The duality of the logo signifies both day & night as well as earth & space. It could be a star or our earth all together, but more importantly the symbol can be seen as our horizon with stars, satellites and rockets flying above it. Or maybe it is northern lights up there?

    Humans have always been captivated by the beautiful aurora seen in the two polar regions of Earth. Since our first sounding rocket launch in 1962, we have enabled scientists to study the northern lights from within. Due to our long and proud history involved with this research, it was natural to pick the green color of the aurora borealis as a leading color in our new profile.

    New technologies

    Our new logo highlights both the research and development of technology that finds place at Andøya.

    We provide the means to fly, launch, test, research, educate and inspire. Whereas the three independent dots may symbolize our rockets, drones or satellites flying above the earth, the lower part of the logo symbol represents both lift off, a data scan and collection of data.

    To some, it may also represent our different fields of operation – testing, space and education – as well as the roads leading you there.

    Our new logo is a stamp of quality. It is a leading star and a symbol of collaboration and reaching for the stars with uncompromising quality and safety. These are values that lay at the core of Andøya Space.

  • Rocket Factory Augsburg Signs Agreement with Andøya Space for maiden launch

    Rocket Factory Augsburg AG (RFA), the leading launch service provider based in Germany, signed a ground breaking MoU with Norway based Andøya Space, to implement a launch site for the RFA ONE launch system to provide end-to-end launch services for small satellites.

    – This partnership is pivotal, it allows RFA and Andøya to launch the first satellite into orbit from continental Europe with an European launcher, said Dr. Stefan Brieschenk, Chief Operation Officer of RFA.

    – Andøya Space is the most advanced micro launcher spaceport project in Europe. We believe to have found the best partner to start with the delivery of our end to end launch service to our customers in 2022, Jörn Spurmann, Chief Commercial Officer of RFA, added.

    Andøya Space is developing the new launch complex on Andøya island, 35 km south of their existing sub-orbital launch site. This new site will provide operators of vehicles in the 1.5t payload class with independent integration facilities and access to two launch pads with necessary support infrastructure.

    Rocket Factory, a start-up backed by the German satellite manufacturer OHB as a strategic investor and Munich-based venture capital firm Apollo Capital Partners, currently is developing a launcher system called RFA ONE for small satellites with a payload performance of up to 1.500kg to low earth orbit (LEO). The first launch is scheduled for 2022. The company recently qualified the upper stage tank system during cryogenic tests and is currently preparing hot-fire tests of the main engine in Esrange, Sweden.

    – We are convinced that Rocket Factory is one of the most progressive SSLV companies in Europe. Having them commit to Andøya Space as a partner is of great significance to us. We are developing an efficient multi-user launch site in Norway, and Rocket Factory has the technical capabilities, the same innovative culture, and the enthusiastic team we need in a partner to help us take the spaceport initiative forward. We look forward to supporting them in their missions to polar- and sun synchronous orbits, said Odd Roger Enoksen, CEO and President of Andøya Space.

    RFA is at the forefront of the global new-space launch vehicle development, with its state-of-the-art staged-combustion engine technology. This high-performance engine design, coupled to lowest-possible-cost production techniques, is essentially new to Europe, and through the support of OHB, RFA has managed to acquire key technologies and key talent that will propel the business case of the RFA One launch vehicle to dominate the market on a global scale. Recent firing tests have demonstrated that RFA is on a winning path to establish Europe’s most efficient and powerful rocket engine technology. Recently, RFA won the first round of the micro-launcher competition of the German Space Agency DLR, which granted RFA a letter of support to submit a proposal to ESA’s Boost! programme.

    About RFA

    Since its foundation in August 2018, RFA established a team of 75 (as of September 2020) New Space veterans from 20 different nationalities having a demonstrated track record from previous small launcher projects. An own turbopump prototype was developed from scratch and has undergone first successful tests mid-2019. The Upper stage tank qualification under cryogenic conditions was successfully conducted beginning 2020. At the same time an engine test site is being implemented in Sweden, which will host the hot-fire test of the RFA staged combustion engine from September 2020 onwards. On top, the avionics system test readiness will be given by fall 2020 and RFA will be happy to report about first successful hardware in the loop test results. All system developments being executed in parallel, RFA is happy to present the status of the upcoming integrated stage test next the year. For more information, visit:

    About Andøya Space

    Andøya Space has 58 years of experience in sub-orbital rocket operations for upper-atmospheric research. It also provides space education course up to under-graduate level, conducts missile testing, offers training & flight certification for UAV operations and has capabilities in scientific balloon operations and ground-based ionospheric observation facilities. Andøya Space is owned by the Norwegian Government (90%) and Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace. The company received full support from the Norwegian parliament as well as their owners in June to build the spaceport.

    More information

    Contact Andøya Spaceport.

  • Boeing, Andøya Space Partner to Expand Norwegian, NATO Testing

    Boeing [NYSE: BA] and the Andøya Space are forming a new partnership that will support Norway’s plan to become a leading autonomous aircraft test center and establish the first dedicated spaceport for launching satellites in Europe.

    The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) aims to expand the capability of the Andøya Space to conduct complex testing and experimentation for the Norwegian Armed Forces and NATO. The agreement will also expand the capability of the Andøya Space to provide affordable medium-launch services to new government and commercial customers throughout Europe.

    – This partnership will help Norwegian industry advance indigenous capabilities to accelerate growth in autonomous aerial systems and space launches, said Maria Laine, Boeing vice president of International Strategic Partnerships. – The scale, scope and strategic value of our collaboration opportunities, like this one with the Andøya Space, reinforces our strategic partnership with Norway and demonstrates our commitment to keeping the promises we make.

    Located on the island of Andoya in northern Norway, 300 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle, the Andoya Space is well suited for arctic testing of advanced technological systems, launched from air, sea or land. First established nearly 60 years ago, the test center is equipped with the latest of telemetry and tracking systems.

    Under the new agreement with Boeing, the test center will be expanded through the acquisition of new test bed aircraft and deployment of the Integrated Remote Sensing for the Arctic (IRSA) network. The network includes an embedded command and control system provided as a technical transfer from Boeing. The IRSA network will connect the Andoya Space to dedicated test sites in countries across the Arctic.

    – To partner with Boeing with a special focus on advanced testing and autonomous aerial systems is a major step towards our strategic goals. This agreement will greatly improve our capabilities through the acquisition of aerial platforms for test and development activities, said Gunnar Jan Olsen, CEO of Andøya Space Defence, subsidiary of Andøya Space.

    The new agreement with Andøya Space will support Boeing’s tailored industrial participation plan related to the acquisition of five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft by the Norwegian Armed Forces in 2017.

    About Boeing

    For more information on Defense, Space & Security, visit
    Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense and @BoeingSpace.

    About Andøya Space

    Andøya Space is a limited company, owned 90% by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry and Fisheries and 10% by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. For more information, visit


    Steve Lott
    Boeing Communications
    Office: +1 703-465-3885
    Mobile: +1 202-285-9590

    Gunnar Jan Olsen
    Andoya Space Defence
    Office: +47 76 14 44 00
    Mobile: +47 930 51680

  • ICI-5 Launched from Svalbard

    The main scientific instruments were the two Andøya Space/University of Oslo (UiO) 4DSpace modules, each containing ejectable 6 sub-payloads.

    These 12 “daughters” were to be ejected 4 by 4 as the rocket passed 196km (last ejection at 204 km) altitude on its way up into space, and immediately start communicating their “UiO Multi-Needle Langmuir Probe (mNLP) measurements of electron densities to the main module onboard the sounding rocket payload. This way, the 4DSpace experiment would enable the Grand Challenge Initiative Cusp (GCI Cusp) scientists to find out whether GPS signal disturbances are created by auroral electron beams or by some other instability mechanism. This is critical knowledge in order to develop a space weather model to forecast GPS positioning problems in the arctic.

    In addition to the 4DSpace experiments, the ICI-5 payload also brought these instruments:

    Bifocal Sensor electron spectrometer – Universitu of Iowa (U Iowa), Electric Field and Wave experiment – UiO, Miniaturized Fluxgate Magnetometer – U Iowa, Sounding Rocket Attitude Detection System (SRADS) – UiO and Distribution of Energetic Electrons and Protons (DEEP) – University of Bergen (UiB).

    Following the launch, it was quickly reported that science team picked a prime science event.  All payload events were reported as nominal and a solid track was provided by both the Norwegian and NASA ground assets.  Then the team experienced the occasional roller coaster ride that is sounding rockets.

    Unfortunately, after data review, it was apparent that a roll rate anomaly was experienced, precluding the instruments from functioning as intended.

    ICI-5 had a maximum altitude of 252 km and was the Norwegian participation in the major international sounding rocket project – Grand Challenge Initiative Cusp. Currently, there are two more GCI Cusp rockets on the rails awaiting launch from Andøya and Ny-Ålesund.

    ICI-5 mission highlights:

    • In a cooperative effort between Andøya Space and University of Oslo, researchers and engineers have developed the 4DSpace measurement technology. A unique concept.
    • The team was able to effectively pinpoint and launch a sounding rocket through a thin northern auroral arc, which have a 10-min lifespan and move in space. This is expertise the teams from UiO, The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), UiB and Andøya Space have built up together. This expertise is in high demand in the GCI Cusp and similar projects.
    • Potentially, 3 new instruments were space tested: BIFOCAL electron spectrometer from Iowa, Flux Gate Magnetometer from Iowa, and a high energy particle detector from UiB. Later, data will show whether these have been lifted from TRL 1-2 to level 5-6 (for satellites). If so, this is worth millions of dollars.
    • ICI-5 is the Norwegian share in GCI Cusp Initiative. ICI-5 PI is also project scientist for GCI Cusp and Norwegian scientists are also involved in ten other rocket missions.
    • With GCI Cusp, an “international Cusp observation system” for SIOS is under construction, which will later be filled with data from both rockets, satellites and ground data. This is important for the international space community.

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • G-CHASER Mission Successfully Launched

    It’s the only student flight in the Grand Challenge, flying several student experiments on one rocket, each one a different mission that is unique to their team.

    With seven different experiments flying on the same rocket, work on G-CHASER has been an exercise in coordination since it’s early beginnings in 2016. However, today at 09:13:00 UT, the two stage rocket ascended into the skies above Andøya, reaching its calculated altitude of 174 km. So far, all experiments seem to have worked as they were supposed to.

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • CAPER-2 Launched

    CAPER-2 is the fifth sounding rocket to launch in the Grand Challenge Initiative.

    CAPER is an abbreviation for “Cups Alfvèn and Plasma Electrodynamics Rocket” and is a mission to investigate dayside magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling. The vehicle flew through the cusp region of the Earth’s magnetic field, reaching an altitude of 774 kilometers.

    CAPER-2 is the fifth sounding rocket to launch in the Grand Challenge Initiative – CUSP project, an international research project between Norway, USA, Canada and Japan, involving 12 sounding rockets launched from Andøya and Ny-Ålesund between 2018 and 2020 which will study the Earth’s cusp region in unprecedented detail. The basic idea behind the project is to gather scientists with individually funded sounding rocket projects investigating phenomena related to the magnetosphere and Earth’s cusp regions. All participants share the collected research data between them.

    Principal investigator for CAPER-2 is professor James LaBelle from Dartmouth College.

    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space

  • Successful Start of Grand Challenge

    GCI CUSP is an international research project between Norway, USA, Canada, and Japan involving 12 sounding rockets launched from Andøya and Ny-Ålesund between 2018 and 2020.

    The basic idea behind the project is to gather scientists investigating phenomena related to the magnetosphere and Earth’s cusp regions. All participants share the collected research data between them.

    The four sounding rockets were two Black Brant XIIA from Andøya in the NASA TRICE-2 mission and two Black Brant X from Ny-Ålesund in the NASA VISIONS-2 mission. The rockets were launched in pairs 120 seconds apart, reason being that one wish to measure any changes in the ionosphere between the first and second launch. In addition the rockets flew in different altitudes. VISIONS-2 and TRICE-2 didn’t carry identical payloads but both missions measured parameters related to the cusp region.

    All four flights was deemed a success and hopefully marks the beginning of a fruitful GCI CUSP for scientists, engineers, data modellers as well as for the launch sites and ground based instrumentation supporting the project.

    Launch Details

    VISIONS-2 vehicle 1 was launched Dec 7th, 2018, 11:06 UTC from Ny-Ålesund, reached an apogee of 805 kilometers and the second followed at 11:08 UTC reaching an apogee of 600 kilometers. VISIONS-2 used Black Brant X vehicles.

    The principal investigator for VISIONS-2 is Douglas Rowland from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

    TRICE-2 vehicle 1 was launched Dec 8th, 2018, 08:26 UTC from Andøya, reached an apogee of 1 042 kilometers and the second followed at 08:28 UTC reaching an apogee of 756 kilometers. TRICE-2 used Black Brant XIIA vehicles.

    Principal investigator for the TRICE-2 mission is professor Craig Kletzing from the University of Iowa.

    Launch Videos


    More information

    Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space