- Initially we had envisioned something other than a loan, and a higher amount. However, we are very pleased that we have a solution and that we now have capital, says 'rocket manager' Odd Roger Enoksen at Andøya Space Center (ASC).
Yesterday brought the news that the Norwegian supports the plans about establishing a launch pad for small and commercial satellites from Andøya, in the form of a NOK 20 million loan. That is what the goverment will put into the efforts of "finding out whether it is possible to launch small satellites from Andøya".
- This is good, says a happy CEO Odd Roger Enoksen on the phone to High North News.
- However, we would have preferred that it not be a loan, as this is a national project, after all, he adds.
Aims for the stars - Wants to lead in Europe
Enoksen, the Managing Director and CEO of Andøya Space Center, and Andøy's mayor Jonni Solsvik (Conservatives) has worked for a long time to establish a launch pad for small commercial satellites at Andøy island. They both hope that ASC in not too many years will be at the forefront of the rapidly growing European market for launching of smaller and commercial satellites.
In a best case scenario, the establishing may provide 200-300 new local jobs, according to the founders, in addition to also having national ripple effects.
A lot has happened since the ASC was established in 1962, and Andøya Space Center is famous also abroad for its high-tech community. It has many customers, both domestic and foreign; both NASA and the Norwegian Defence Ministry to mention but two.
The work to establish a new potential launch base is demanding both in terms of costs, planning and localisation. The process develops in stages and at present, there are two different areas on Andøya island that are considered as potential locations for the new base.
- We hold a firm belief in this, Enoksen says. He tells HNN that a high number of prospective future customers are contacting ASC about their desire to launch satellites from Andøya in the future.
- In fact, we have so much faith in this that the Board now has decided to establish Andøya Space Port as a new subsidiary in the enterprise, he says.
The new subsidiary is at the time of writing in the process of being formally registered and will have a share capital of NOK 1 million kroner. During the spring the ASC will add another NOK 20 million to this amount, following the government's loan offer.
When asked what he thinks about the government's supporting ASC with a loan, Andøy mayor Jonni Solsvik says: - All in all, this is a great follow-up.
- We need this money to conduct and quality assure the project, he says.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries owns a majority of the shares of ASC (90 percent), whereas Kongsberg Defence and AeroSpace owns the remaining 10 percent.
- My expectation is for the pre-project phase process to be followed up, and for the government and parliament to follow up through strengthening the company that they actually own, so that it is able to face the challenges that will come along the way. In sum, this is a good start, Solsvik says.
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