Norway and New Space
The development of New Space has opened up new possibilities for the country.
The new and commercial space market called New Space, and the technological and economic development it has opened up, made it possible for Norway to develop its own small satellites for monitoring maritime areas.
This is the task of the Norwegian satellites AISSat-1 and AISSat-2, which were launched in 2010 and 2014, respectively. These small satellites measure just 20x20x20 centimeters and weigh only 6 kilograms.
The next generation of Norwegian satellites were NorSat-1, NorSat-2 and NorSat-3. They are larger than the AIS satellites and weigh approximately 16 kilos. They monitor the sea as well, and have payloads for research. NorSat-TD is a satellite carrying a payload of several experimental technologies.
Before New Space made it possible to develop and launch small satellites, Norway was only a participant in large satellites, mainly through ESA. Telenor was the sole Norwegian company to develop and launch large satellites.
In 2023, a new generation of Norwegian small satellites is on its way, for both commercial and government use. The Kongsberg Group is building three satellites called N3-X, which will monitor ship traffic from orbit. Space Norway is building the radar satellite MicroSAR, which will also be used for ocean monitoring.
The Norwegian Space Agency is developing, in collaboration with ESA, the Kongsberg Group and Eidel, the Arctic Observing System. These small satellites will also be used for monitoring maritime traffic.
Norwegian universities are also developing their own small satellites. SmallSatLab at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU, already has the small satellite Hypso-1 in orbit. Hypso-1 does oceanographic and maritime research. More small satellites are on the way from NTNU. The University of Tromsø is also developing its own small satellite.