NASA rockets cause confusion in the North

NASA rockets launch rocketNASA rockets launched from Andøya and Bardufoss mistaken for emergency flares. Photo:

NASA rockets cause total confusion in the North of Norway

Saturday the first two of a total of twelve NASA rockets were launched from Andøya and Bardufoss. The phones of the police glowed from calls by people who thought they were emergency flares.


– The Police Operations Centres in Tromsø and Bodø received a series of emergency reports regarding emergency flares, emergency rockets and light phenomena in the sky simultaneously across large parts of Troms and Nordland, The Troms Police District Tweets on Saturday.

It became clear that the so-called emergency flares and rockets were factually the two first research missiles from NASA that were launched from the Andøya Space Center (ASC).

One rocket was launched from ASC’s main base on Andøya in Troms, while the other was launched from Bardufoss in Nordland.

International cooperation

The rockets will investigate the upper part of the Earth’s atmosphere and is a result of an international collaboration to launch several rockets at the same time. A key part of the project is also to simplify data sharing between the partners in the project, writes the University of Oslo’s online newspaper, Titan.

The Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that protects against the flow of charged particles from the Sun, AKA solar winds. Two locations on Earth, in the polar regions, have holes in the magnetic field, a kind of funnel where the solar particles can flow freely and come into direct contact with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Northern Norway and Svalbard are unique locations to gain access to the northern funnel. The preparations for the launch have been going on for a while.

Depends on the weather

Four NASA supplied rockets are first in line, the two from Andøya and two from Svalbard.

The launches depend on weather conditions and favourable conditions in the ionosphere. The next two missiles are scheduled to be launched in the next few weeks.

Three of the NASA rockets launched during December carry “space weather” instruments from the University of Oslo.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today