NASA is to launch research missiles from Norway
NASA are going to launch two missiles from Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard and seven from Andøya in the largest operation of the kind outside the US, reports NRK.
Director of Space Systems at the Andøya Space Center, Kolbjørn Blix, central to the planning of the mission, confirms that the operation is novel to the Americans.
– According to what they state themselves, that is how it is. There might have been a number of launches that are similar, but not quite as big and definitely being part of such a large joint project, Blix says to the channel.
The project is a collaboration between Norway, the United States and Japan. Japan is contributes a rocket and as does Norway. The NASA missiles are prepped in Wallops, Washington, and shipped piece by piece to Andøya and Svalbard. Between 60 and 70 people are to be involved in the project.
Project leader and professor at the University of Oslo, Jøran Moen, believes that more knowledge about northern lights will alert when GPS becomes inaccurate and when satellites are spun out of their orbit.
– We can launch rockets through the northern lights both towards the north of Andøya and southwards from Svalbard. Then we rig up to get four rockets airborne simultaneously. That will be a truly once in a lifetime opportunity, says Moen.
While the Andøya Space Center has equipment and infrastructure to launch missiles, work has to be made to facilitate at Ny Ålesund on Svalbard.
– We are not allowed to keep equipment up there. It is related to the Svalbard Treaty. There is a lot of equipment being shipped there, says Kolbjørn Blix.
The first missiles will be launched in December next year, and the seccond batch will be launched a year later.
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today