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Andøya Space Center

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Title: Andøya Space Center  
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Subject: Norwegian Space Centre
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Andøya Space Center

View of the Rocket Range in the summer months.

Andøya Rocket Range is a rocket launch site and rocket range on Andøya island (the northernmost in the Vesterålen archipelago) in Andøy municipality in northern Norway. Since 1962, over 1,200 sounding rockets of all known configurations have been launched from this site.

Andøya Rocket Range is a civilian facility owned 90% by the Royal Ministry of Trade and Industry, Norway, and 10% by Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace. It operates on a commercial basis.


From 1997, a second launch site at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard was established, enabling scientists to launch sounding rocket straight in the polar cusp, where the earth's magnetic field lines converge.

A ground based lidar observatory, ALOMAR (Arctic Lidar Observatory for Middle Atmosphere Research) opened in 1994, and is considered unique in atmospheric research in the Arctic. The range is also host of northern Europe's largest MF-radar.

In 1995, a sounding rocket launched from Andøya caused a high alert in Russia, known as the Norwegian Rocket Incident.[1] The Russians thought it might be a nuclear missile launched from an American submarine. President Boris Yeltsin was alerted for a possible counter strike, when the Russians understood that it was not heading towards Russia. The Russians were informed in advance about the launch by the rocket range personnel, but this information was lost in the Russian military organisation.


Andoya has six launch pads during all or part of its life as a launch site:

  • LC5
  • LC9
  • LC10
  • Athena
  • Haugnes
  • U3

Orbital launch plans

Andøya has been proposed as a spaceport for launching orbital Nanosatellite launch vehicles (NLVs). In January 2013, the Nammo company and the Andøya Rocket Range announced that they would be "developing a rocket system called North Star that will use a standardized hybrid motor, clustered in different numbers and arrangements, to build two types of sounding rockets and an orbital launcher" that would be able to deliver a 10 kg (22 lb) nanosat into polar orbit.[2]


  1. ^ Budalen, Andreas; Dan Henrik Klausen (February 26, 2012). "Verden har aldri vært nærmere atomkrig".  
  2. ^ Lindsey, Clark (2013-01-28). "North Star rocket family with hybrid propulsion". NewSpace Watch. Retrieved 2013-01-28. (subscription required (help)). 

External links

  • Andøya Rocket Range website
  • Astronautix - Andoya

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