New Important Step for Norway and Germany's Space Cooperation

Andoya Spaceport

Illustration of a satellite launch from the first launch pad at Andøya Spaceport, which which the German company Isar Aerospace will operate. Now, Norway and Germany have a mutual understanding of the division of  responsibility under international law regarding the launch of German rockets and satellites from Norwegian soil. (Illustration image: Andøya Space)

On Wednesday, Norway and Germany signed a declaration facilitating German launches from Andøya Spaceport. With this, a significant piece is in place for Isar Aerospace to launch its first satellite from the island in Northern Norway – which could also become Europe's first satellite launch.

Norsk versjon.

In 2021, the German company Isar Aerospace entered into a 20-year agreement with the Norwegian company Andøya Space to launch satellites from the then planned spaceport on the island of Andøya in Northern Norway. 

Andøya spaceport opened in November, and Norway and Germany have now clarified their responsibilities under international law regarding the imminent German launches.

A joint declaration on the countries' obligations, including economic responsibility in the event of an accident, was signed on Wednesday by the Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Cecilie Myrseth (Labour), and the German Ambassador to Norway, Detlef Wächter.

"Germany is one of our most important strategic cooperation partners in space and many other policy areas. This declaration is an important piece that must be in place before Isar Aerospace can launch its first satellite from Andøya, which can also be the first satellite launch from Europe ever," says Myrseth.

Næringsminister Cecilie Myrseth og Tysklands ambassadør til Norge, Detlef Wächter, skriver under den nye felleserklæringen. (Foto: Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet)

The Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry, Cecilie Myrseth, and Germany's Ambassador to Norway, Detlef Wächter, signs the new joint declaration. (Photo: The Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries)

Will take place this year

With the international legal framework in place, the plan is for Isar Aerospace's carrier rocket Spectrum to launch satellites into space in the second half of 2024. 

The first developed launch pad at Andøya Spaceport, to which Isar has secured exclusive access, is currently being prepared to deliver in practice.

If everything goes according to plan, Andøya Spaceport will be the first operative spaceport in continental Europe, and Isar's satellite launch will be a milestone in the European context, as the minister points out.

"Andøya can become central to European space activity in the coming years. The combination of a beneficial geographical location and a world-class professional environment makes Andøya Spaceport a very good place to launch satellites. This can have great value to both Norway and Europe," maintains Myrseth. 

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