Located at Nordmela on the Norwegian island of Andøya, the recently opened Andøya Spaceport is set to become the first operational orbital spaceport in continental Europe. With its strategic location on the northern coastline, the spaceport offers launches to highly retrograde orbit inclinations, making it favorable for sun synchronous and polar orbits.
Andøya will host several launch pads, with Isar Aerospace granted exclusive access to the first launch site. This launch site was constructed to meet the specifications of Isar Aerospace, providing facilities for payload integration and a mission control center. Isar Aerospace, a Bavarian space company founded in 2018 as a spin-off of Technical University Munich, sees this launch site as the final step in their path to first flight.
The opening ceremony of Andøya Spaceport was honored by the presence of H.R.H. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and marks a significant milestone for Isar Aerospace in achieving sovereign and competitive access to space. Isar Aerospace CEO and Co-Founder, Daniel Metzler, highlighted the importance of this launch site in solving the key challenge faced by the European space industry.
Andøya, in addition to its new orbital spaceport, has a long history of providing infrastructure for sub-orbital flights since 1962. Many sounding rockets launches and long duration balloon flights have taken place from there. The Andøya Spaceport will operate as a fully-owned subsidiary of Andøya Space.
The first launch from the Andøya Spaceport will be conducted by Isar Aerospace. The two-stage launch vehicle, Spectrum, will carry several small satellites developed by students from various European universities.
The opening of the Andøya Spaceport is not the only development in Europe’s space industry. The Swedish Esrange Spaceport, which also presents itself as an orbital launch site, has already facilitated rocket testbeds, high altitude balloon research, and a civilian satellite ground station. However, with the opening of Andøya Spaceport, Isar Aerospace aims to bring competitive access to space back to Europe, marking a significant advancement in the European space industry’s capabilities.