The first operational spaceport in Europe was opened for business by Norwegian operator Andøya. The rocket launch site will be used by the German aerospace company Isar Aerospace.
Andøya Spaceport is located at Nordmela on the Norwegian island of Andøya and is in the final stages towards operating capability. After the official opening ceremony with Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, the spaceport will become the first operational orbital launch site in Europe, according to Isar’s press release.
The fully constructed spaceport hosts several launch pads, with Isar Aerospace having exclusive access to the first launch site. It was built according to the company’s specifications, including a launchpad, payload integration facilities, and a mission control center.
The company is preparing to serve its clients by bringing small and medium-sized satellites to space. Its new 2-stage orbital launch vehicle, Spectrum, is set to carry out final-stage testing and the launch site will support its operations.
“Over the last five years, we have built a rocket that will help to solve the most crucial bottleneck in the European space industry – sovereign and competitive access to space. Together with Andøya Spaceport, our team has created an excellent piece of engineering, the first orbital launch site in continental Europe which will bring this access to space to Norway, and back to Europe,” said Daniel Metzler, CEO and Co-Founder of Isar Aerospace.
The spaceport enables Isar Aerospace to start testing its new space vehicle.
European rocket to reach orbit
Spectrum’s first test flight is to become the first operational orbital launch from Europe.
“Given its location far north at a coastline, Andøya Spaceport can offer launches to highly retrograde orbit inclinations. These are favorable for sun-synchronous as well as polar orbits which the market has a strong demand for as launch sites for these orbits are limited globally,” the press release reads.
The system design of the launch vehicle Spectrum has been completed, and the rocket is now in the production phase of all parts, including the flight engines. All proprietary propulsion systems, avionics, software, structures, and almost all other solutions were carried out in-house.
The European rocket still needs to undergo acceptance testing to verify that its systems meet all necessary requirements
The privately funded Isar Aerospace is proud that its Spectrum rocket “will also have an entirely new propellant set, which will reduce emissions substantially compared to classical rockets.”
“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 company promises, aiming to become a crucial player in Europe’s vital space push.
With the new spaceport, Norway has become one of the very few countries capable of launching satellites from its own territory. The satellite industry is a catalyst for innovation and economic growth and a critical factor in addressing national and international challenges
“This enables us to have the first satellite launches ever from European soil to take place from Andøya,” said Ingun Berget, President of Andøya Spaceport.
The Norwegian aerospace company Andøya Space has a long history o providing infrastructure for suborbital launches. Since 1962, around 1,200 launches of sounding rockets and long-duration balloons have taken place at Andøya.
Andøya Spaceport is a fully owned subsidiary of Andøya Space.
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