The official anniversary celebrations began on Saturday, with King Harald and other prominent guests present, when an “anniversary rocket” was launched from the rocket range.
The Andøya Rocket Range (ARR) in Northern Norway is a commercial operation that derives its income from national and international tasks. More than 1000 research rockets have been launched from the range over these 50 years.
In 1997, ARR was privatised with The Norwegian Space Centre (NSC) holding 90% of the shares and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace holding the remaining 10%.
Norsk Romsenter Eiendom AS holds 50% of the shares in Kongsberg Satellite Services A.S. (KSAT), which in turn owns the Tromsø Station (TSS) and the Svalbard Station (SvalSat).
TSS operates a Local User Terminal (LUT) of the satellite-based search and rescue system COSPAS/SARSAT for the Ministry of Justice. The service is due for termination in the near future.
TSS also acquires Earth observation data and performs ancillary services for national and international users, including ESA programmes.
SvalSat downloads data from and controls polar orbiting satellites. Its customers include the world’s largest satellite owners.
Norway was actually the first country to utilise saatellites for inland communication, particularly for the oil installation in the North Sea and for the Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic.
Norway is important for international space research, with ground stations in the far north, as well as in the Antarctic.
The Norwegian Space Centre (NSC) is a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. NSC promotes the development, co-ordination and evaluation of national space activities as well as supports Norwegian interests in the European Space Agency (ESA).