Credit: Andøya Spaceport

European launch service company Isar Aerospace has established a partnership with Andøya Spaceport to launch small satellites from Andøya using Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum launch vehicle. Isar Aerospace is supported through ‘Boost!’ - ESA's programme to support the development, deployment and use of commercial space transportation services in Europe.

On 1 November ESA and Isar Aerospace, supported by Andøya Spaceport, signed a contract extension to develop an efficient new flight tracking and safety system for future rocket launches with Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum launch vehicle from Andøya.

The purpose of the autonomous flight tracking system is to precisely and reliably keeping track of the Spectrum launch vehicle’s position, speed and direction of travel as it ascends to orbit, which is important to guarantee Andøya Spaceport’s flight safety requirements. The objective is to further evaluate the use of the system in enabling automated flight termination functionality for launches by Andøya Spaceport’s ground system, autonomously triggering an abort of the mission if ever operational parameters of the launch vehicle are out of bounds.

Isar Aerospace

The Munich-based launch service company Isar Aerospace was founded in 2018 and has raised €310 million from private investors. The company has been supported by ESA’s Business Incubation Centre and Boost! contracts in 2020 and 2021. Isar Aerospace’s two-stage launch vehicle Spectrum will be around 28 m tall, 2 m in diameter and its ten engines will launch payloads of up to 1000 kg to low Earth orbit. Isar Aerospace is in the final stages of preparation towards its first test flight of Spectrum: having completed the system designs of its launch vehicle, it is now in the production phase of all parts of the rocket, including the flight engines.

Andøya Spaceport

Andøya Spaceport, located at Nordmela on the Norwegian island of Andøya, has finished construction of the first step of building: initial operation capability. The first launch from the new spaceport will be Isar Aerospace’s Spectrum for which the launch pad, payload integration facilities and launch- and mission control have been finalised. Andøya Space group has a long history in providing infrastructure for suborbital launches. Since 1962, around 1200 sounding rockets and high-altitude balloons have launched from here. With the recent opening, Andøya Spaceport is getting closer to becoming an operational orbital spaceport in continental Europe.

Source: ESA

Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens.