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Europe’s 1st continental spaceport is open for business in Norway

The first spaceport in continental Europe is operational. Andøya Spaceport was opened on Nov. 2 by H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon in an official ceremony.

The spaceport is part of Andøya Space and is located in Nordmela on Norway’s Andøya island. It will be the launch site of the European launch service company Isar Aerospace. The opening of Andøya Spaceport is, therefore, an important milestone in the journey of Isar Aerospace to the launchpad. It will be the starting point for the company’s first test flight of its two-stage launch vehicle, Spectrum.

Once fully built up, Andøya Spaceport will have several launchpads to launch small to medium satellites into space — however, the first of these launchpads, its payload integration facilities and mission control center are reserved for Isar Aerospace and designed per the company’s specifications.

Related: SpaceX to launch its 80th orbital mission of the year tonight

“Today, Norway, the Andøya region and Isar Aerospace take a big step towards space. Over the last five years, we have built a rocket that will help to solve the most crucial bottleneck in the European space industry  —  sovereign and competitive access to space,” CEO and Co-Founder of Isar Aerospace, Daniel Metzler, said in a statement. “Together with Andøya Spaceport, our team has created an excellent piece of engineering, the first orbital launch site in continental Europe, which will bring this access to space to Norway and back to Europe.

“For Isar Aerospace, this step equals entering the final stages of our path to first flight. For Europe, it means being able to harness the power of the space platform.”

From its location far north of a coastline, Andøya Spaceport is ideal for launching satellites that will need a sun-synchronous orbit around Earth. In other words, it’s a great option for satellites that’ll pass over a set point on Earth at the same solar mean time each day, as well as for satellites with polar orbits.

The aerospace market currently has a strong demand for launch sites capable of boosting satellites to such types of orbits, as these locations are in short supply globally.

“The opening of the spaceport on Andøya island marks an important milestone for Norway, European New Space industry, and our partnership with Isar Aerospace,” President of Andøya Spaceport, Ingun Berget, said in the statement. “This enables us to have the first satellite launches ever from European soil to take place from Andøya.”

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