SSC Resumes Rocket Launches From Esrange Space Center

Mapheus-10 sounding rocket launches from Esrange Space Center in Sweden. (Credit: Swedish Space Corporation)

KIRUNA, Sweden (Swedish Space Corporation PR) — Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden has resumed its rocket activities after the fire that damaged the launch site in late August. Today, only three months after the incident, a sounding rocket was once again launched from the base.

Sounding rocket Mapheus-10, owned by the German Aerospace Center (DLR), was successfully launched from the restored launch infrastructure at approximately 09.30 am on Monday, December 6. The onboard payload contained metals for various experiments including studies on solidification of alloy metals. The 1600 kg rocket reached an altitude of 250 kilometers and a speed of 2 kilometers per second. It stayed in microgravity for about six minutes.

“Our staff have worked tirelessly to get temporary launch solutions in place. Buildings used for balloons have been adapted to handle sounding rockets and we have also repaired damaged cabling and installed new safety systems. Resuming launches of these rockets is very important for research in a number of different areas. It feels fantastic that we are now back on track so soon after the accident,“ says Lennart Poromaa, site manager at Esrange.

“After the fire we were concerned that we would not be able to launch rockets from Esrange for a long time, but they have made a very quick restoration of the infrastructure. This is a unique space base and it feels great to be back,” says Alexander Kallenbach, team leader at DLR.