On Monday, April 24th, a Swedish research rocket launched by the Sweden Space Corporation (SSC) experienced a malfunction that caused it to veer off course and land in the mountains of neighboring Norway. The rocket, known as TEXUS-58, was part of a program commissioned by the European Space Agency (ESA) and was carrying three microgravity experiments on board.
According to the SSC, the rocket “took a slightly longer and more westerly trajectory than expected and landed after completed flight 15 kilometers into Norway,” which is about 40 kilometers northwest of the intended landing site. The rocket was flying at an altitude of 250 kilometers and landed at 1,000 meters in the mountains, approximately 10 kilometers from the closest settlement. Fortunately, no injuries were reported, and the research payload was successfully recovered and transported back to the Swedish launch site via helicopter.
Although the incident did not result in any injuries or damages, it has raised concerns as the rocket landed in the territory of a NATO member, Norway. The Swedish and Norwegian authorities were contacted immediately after the incident, and an investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the deviation from the planned flight path. The SSC has stated that they take the incident seriously and are working to identify the reasons for the non-nominal flight path.
The three microgravity experiments onboard the rocket are of particular interest. Two of the experiments, VIPer and Perwaves, are related to “green transition” research, which is an important focus for the European Space Agency’s environmental and climate efforts. The third experiment, ICAPS, investigated the process of planetary formation. Although the experiments were recovered, it is unknown if they sustained any damage during the rocket’s unplanned landing.
The incident serves as a reminder of the risks associated with space research and exploration. Even with the best technology and expertise, unforeseen events can occur, highlighting the importance of ongoing safety protocols and thorough investigations to prevent future incidents. As the investigation into this incident continues, it will be interesting to see what lessons can be learned and how they can be applied to future space endeavors.
#Sweden #Norway #research #rocket #NATO #microgravity #environment #climate #greentransition #PlanetaryFormation
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