(ORDO NEWS) — The research rocket was launched from one of the northernmost space centers in the world in Sweden.
Europeans hope that next year, rockets like this one will be able to launch satellites into orbit from a spaceport located in continental Europe.
The Swedish Space Center is located at the foot of Radar Hill, about 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle.
“We have 5,200 square kilometers in this area where no one lives, so we can easily launch a rocket that will fly into this area and fall, and no one will be hurt,” said Matthias Abrahamsson, head of business development at the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC ).
Founded by ESA in 1966, the Esrange Space Center has invested heavily in its equipment in recent years to be able to send satellites into space.
The huge new hangar, built as part of the New Esrange project, can accommodate two 30-meter rockets.
Construction work is being completed at three launch pads. Filip Palsson, project manager, said that satellite launches will start from Esrange next year.
More than 600 sub-orbital rockets have already been launched from this remote corner in Sweden, including the sub-orbital Express 3, which was launched in late November, when the temperature was -20 degrees Celsius.
Although these rockets are capable of reaching an altitude of 260 kilometers, they cannot orbit the Earth.
But with Europe getting ready to send its satellite into space soon, Esrange hopes to join a select club of space centers that includes Baikonur in Kazakhstan, Cape Canaveral in Florida and Kourou in French Guiana.
The satellite industry is booming, and the Swedish state-owned company is in talks with several rocket manufacturers and customers who want to put their satellites into orbit.
The orbits of the North and South Poles are enough for many satellites, which makes places like Esrange more attractive. In addition, having a launch site close to European customers saves them from long trips to Kourou.
In Sweden, as in the rest of Europe, “micro-rockets” are being developed. They are about 30 meters long and capable of carrying a payload of several hundred kilograms.
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