EsrangeInternationalIndiaAfricaNorway has described rocket crashes as “alarming incidents that can cause serious damage” and urged those who might cause border violations to let the relevant authority know as early as possible – something Sweden blatantly failed to do.A research rocket launched from northern Sweden crashed to the ground in the Norwegian mountainside in the remote North of the country, causing a rare rift between the neighbors, as it transpired that Sweden delayed in informing Oslo of the mishap.The rocket and its payload, launched early Monday from the Esrange Space Centre in Kiruna in the most northerly parts of Sweden, crashed in a desolate mountain range in Malselv at an altitude of about 1,000m in Norway’s Troms og Finmark county, about 10km from the closest inhabited area and about 40km north-west of the planned landing site. The rocket was 9m long and weighed 1.3 tons at takeoff. Though no one was injured , Norway’s Foreign Ministry issued a stern rebuke.
"The crash of a rocket like this is an alarming incident that can cause serious damage," the ministry in Oslo said. "When such a border violation occurs, it is crucial that those responsible immediately inform the relevant Norwegian authorities through the proper channels," it added.
Norway’s Civil Aviation Authority also stressed that it had only learnt about the crash from the Swedish Space Corporation’s delayed press release, and that there had been no direct contact.The Swedish rocket was carrying out experiments in zero gravity at an altitude of about 250km.
"The rocket took a slightly longer and more westerly trajectory than calculated and landed after completing a flight 15km into Norway," the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) said in a subsequent statement, adding that work to retrieve its payload was under way.
However, Norway’s Foreign Ministry also pointed out that retrieval work should not begin without permission from Norway’s authorities. It also stressed that wreckage from such rockets may be contaminated with rocket fuel or other toxic material.Though rare, the event is not unique. In 2009, a rocket launched from Sweden also ended up on the Norwegian side of the border.”We are in the process of investigating what caused [the rocket] to end up outside the designated area,” Marko Kohberg, head of SSC’s rockets and balloons division, told Swedish media.WorldEU Inaugurates First Orbital Launch Site in Europe13 January, 13:40 GMTThe Esrange Space Centre was established in 1964 some 40km east of the mining town of Kiruna, in Sweden’s Norrbotten County. It is mainly for scientific research using balloons at great altitudes, investigating the aurora borealis, launching rockets, and tracking satellites. Its location in a vast wilderness is said to be ideally fitted for launching satellites. Over the decades, hundreds of rockets and stratospheric balloons have been launched. The base is surrounded by a large landing area, about twice the size of Luxembourg.