Sounding rockets

Andøya Space have provided suborbital launch services for sounding rockets since the 1960s, and hundreds of rockets have been launched to explore the upper and middle atmosphere in the Arctic. Multi-stage rockets have been launched to altitudes of more than 1600 km.

Our customers come from space agencies such as NASA, ESA, JAXA, DLR and a large number of universities and research organizations worldwide.

Dramatic close-up photo of a sounding rocket launch with flames, exhaust and bright light.

Andøya Space has two launch sites for sounding rockets, respectively at Andøya (69°N) and Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard (79°N). Combined, these sites offer a variety of possibilities for rocket trajectories and with access to all layers of the atmosphere. Both sites are equipped with launchers, telemetry stations and support systems for advanced launch operations and both can operate separately or interconnected.

Andøya Space can perform simultaneous launch operations at both sites. Large and complex launch campaigns involving multiple vehicles from both sites have been conducted successfully in recent years. Combined, these sites offer a variety of rocket trajectories and access to all layers of the atmosphere.

Photo of a rocket motor being transported on a trolly inside the launcher building.

The launch site in Andøya has several launch pads and launchers and can handle all known sizes of sounding rockets, while the launch site at Ny-Ålesund has two launch pads with a capability of rockets up to typical Black Brant X size.

Both launch sites allow for flights through the highly interesting cusp region and the aurora oval.

Photo of the Alomar observatory at night. Stars in background, green laser beams shooting upwards.

Northern Norway and Svalbard have a wide range of ground-based instrumentation to support the researchers monitoring the atmosphere and to evaluate the scientific launch conditions. Many of these advanced systems (radar, lidar and optical sensors) are in the vicinity of the launch site.

Andøya Space can also offer to perform recovery of payloads from the Norwegian Sea.

More information

For more information, contact Andøya Space Sub-Orbital