Inspection at 78° North

Photo of three employees in front of a building at Svalbard.


We in Andøya Space Sub-Orbital (ASO) are currently even further north than we normally are when we are at home on Andøya. Since Monday this week, Kolbjørn Blix, Thomas Gansmoe and Hans Arne Eilertsen have been present in Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard for meetings with Kings Bay, which manages and runs the community up here on behalf of the Norwegian Polar Institute.

We also have internal tasks as part of the visit by conducting an inspection of our infrastructure used for the launch of scientific rockets.

The meetings with Kings Bay have dealt with several topics such as the long-term contract between Andøya Space – Kings Bay, which sets guidelines for the services ASO needs for local crews and the prices of these over the next few years.

Possible benefits and opportunities for discounts are of course important topics. Furthermore, there has been a review of Prop. 47 L (2023–2024), amendments to the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act (protection of seabirds and polar bears, violation fees, clean-up, etc.) to see if and how it could affect ASO’s operations up here.

A rocket launches from a launch pad at Svalbard.
Lift-off from the MML-launcher. Photo: Brian Bonsteel, NASA

Another important part of the visit has been to visit the so-called “MML launcher” that was built as a supplement to our original launcher up here. MML became a necessity in order to implement the Grand Challenge Initiative CUSP project in the period 2018-2021, and was built as a collaboration between NASA and Andøya Space.

The shelter is of a temporary nature and has a time-limited permit from the Governor of Svalbard, which means that the work of either renovating or converting to a permanent solution must start now. Here, Kings Bay is an important co-player, advisor and case officer before the case ends up back in the Governor’s office.

More information

For more information, contact Andøya Space Sub-Orbital