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Launch of sounding rocket from Andøya Space Center. Photo: ESA/J. Makinen
ESA/J. Makinen

Green light for satellite launch base at Andøya in Norway

Will make Norway one of the few countries capable of launching satellites from its own territory.

Andøya Space is to receive 365,6 million Norwegian kroner from the Norwegian government to establish a launch base for small satellites at Andøya in Northern Norway. 

The news were announced at a press conference at the Norwegian Space Agency this morning.

«This is a historical day for both Andøya and Norway as a space faring nation. Andøya Space will power a transition for the whole community of Andøya, as well as boost the  region of Northern Norway. The launch base will make Norway one of the few countries in the world capable of launching satellites from its own territory,” says Norway´s Prime Minister Erna Solberg. 

“Andøya Space expects as many as 150 new positions in connection with the launch base. This is technology in development and will afford several exciting and modern high competency jobs to Northern Norway. These positions will be strongly competitive with a high bar for quality. Andøya is evolving to keep up with the global field,” says Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø.

The first satellite launch from Andøya is expected to take place in the third quarter of 2022. 

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Prime Minister Erna Solberg (left) and Minister of Trade and Industry, Iselin Nybø, at this morning's press conference: Photo: NFD.

For CEO of Andøya Space, Odd Roger Enoksen, this is a great day to be a space director.

“I´m convinced that the establishment of the first launch base for satellites on European soil will result in a ripple effect far beyond Andøya, even past Norway´s borders,” Enoksen says.

“We have the opportunity as a nation to take a clear role in Europe´s activities in space.” 

365,6 million Norwegian kroner in funding and support

In June 2020 the Norwegian Parliament assigned Andøya Space up to 282,6 million kroner in funding and 83 million kroner in additional support for establishing a launch base for small satellites at Andøya. In order to receive this, Andøya Space had to document that the funding would result in the same financial gain as a market investor would have accepted.

“The launch base at Andøya is an investment with great opportunities, but also considerable risk. The Norwegian State therefore needed documentation showing that the funding is invested on the same terms as a commercial investor would accept,” says Nybø.

Andøya Space has now demonstrated a more well-adapted business model and enough documentation showing that the terms for the Parliament´s funding have been reached and are in accordance with the European Economic Area's regulations for state funding.  

“Resolving this has been both challenging and time consuming. We have a clear expectation that Andøya Space will achieve the results in accordance with the business plan presented,” Nybø says.

A global market

“The government's green light for funding means that Andøya Space now will be able to offer launch services to the ever growing global market for small satellites. This will be the foundation for the commercial business at the new launch base,” says Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency.  

“Simultaneously, these commercial space activities will also put Norway and Andøya on the map as a strategic, European asset in the space sector.”

Andøya Space has made long term agreements with German satellite launch companies Isar Aerospace and Rocket Factory Augsburg (RFA). Andøya Space will deliver the services for the infrastructure necessary for launch to Isar Aerospace and RFA, while Isar Aerospace and RFA will offer launches for international customers.

Andøya Space will finalize agreements with customers and contractors in the time ahead.