Andøya, a narrow scenic island along the coast of Northern Norway, may see its fortunes revived after losing much of its military population to other sites. Now the government has earmarked up to NOK 365 million to finance a new satellite launch station on the island.
Called the Andøya Spaceport, construction of the new launch site may now start this fall. “The government wants this project to be realized,” Trade Minister Iselin Nybø of the Liberal Party told state broadcaster NRK on Thursday. “This offers opportunities for a new space adventure on Andøya.” She also hopes it can further develop knowledge and technologic competence in Norway.
The spaceport will be part of the mostly state-owned Andøya Space Center that already launches research satellites and balloons. Now it aims to become a European base for other small satellites that currently have wait for launching in conjunction with larger ones, and only from sites in India, the US, New Zealand and French Guyana.
Andøya is competing, however, with similar launch projects in Sweden, Scotland and Portugal. Odd Roger Enoksen, a former government minister who now runs the Andøya Space Center, called the government funding “fantastic,” adding that he now expects other financing needed will be made available. “This will mean a lot, not just for Andøya but for all of Norway,” Enoksen told NRK.