Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden has resumed Swedish Space Center rocket activities after the fire that damaged the launch site in late August — just 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 a.m. on Monday, December 6. The onboard payload contained metals for various experiments including studies on solidification of alloy metals. The 1,600 kg. rocket reached an altitude of 250 kilometers and a speed of 2 kilometers per second and remained in microgravity for about six minutes. The name of the MAPHEUS research rocket stands for “Materialphysikalische Experimente unter Schwerelosigkeit” (material physics experiments at zero gravity).
“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,“ said 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,” said Alexander Kallenbach, team leader at DLR.