Artemis 1 and Orion’s journey to the moon with the help of Norwegian technology from KSAT – NRK Troms and Finnmark

NASAs Artemis 1-rakett med romskipet Orion om bord.

When NASA sends its first lunar rocket in 50 years into the atmosphere, Norwegian technology becomes crucial.

The launch was supposed to take place on Monday. It was postponed due to bad weather and technical failure. On Saturday, he’s ready for another try.

Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) has worked closely with NASA at both Artemis 1 and on a number of other occasions.

As the name suggests, the company will deliver satellite data to the spacecraft. KSAT is half owned by Kongsberg Gruppen, and half is owned by state-owned Norsk Romsenter Eiendom AS.

Rolf Skatteboe in KSAT, here in the company antenna park on the plains outside Punta Arenas in Chile. KSAT is half owned by Kongsberg Gruppen and half owned by the state-owned Space Norway.

Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB

– For 20 years we have been the liaison between space and Earth for NASA, KSAT Director Rolf Skatepow tells NRK.

– When Orion flies, it will find out its distance from Earth via the antennas we have in Tromsø and in Svalbard.

Orion is the spacecraft that will go to the moon, and an Artemis 1 rocket will carry it into space.

– The largest in the world

The collaboration between KSAT and NASA began more than 20 years ago. The reason, Skatteboe explains, at the time was that NASA wanted to use the KSAT station on Svalbard.

– When something goes to the moon, or flies around the earth to observe what is happening here, it is very good to be in Svalbard. Then you can communicate with the satellites every time they orbit the Earth, Skatteboe explains.

In combination with the company’s Troll station in Antarctica, KSAT systems can communicate with ships en route to the moon about 90 percent of the time, he says.

Artemis 1 is the first NASA rocket to blast off to the moon in 50 years. At the time, it was the astronauts on the Apollo 17 flight who visited the moon. In Greek mythology, Artemis is the sister of the god Apollo in Norwegian.

After 50 years, NASA will now return to the Moon. With the new SLS space rocket, the Artemis program will establish a surface base and space station around the Moon. There they will try to find ice, advance technology, research and the commercial industry of the lunar economy, in order to reach the next target, Mars. US reporter Lars Os is in Florida to watch the first rocket sent into lunar orbit to test whether the Orion space capsule can return astronauts to the moon.

KSAT systems contribute to a number of different areas in the global community.

– Among other things, there are satellites that do important things such as measuring the environment and climate.

The company, for example, creates images of the rainforests of the world. These are used to measure and monitor illegal deforestation.

Skatteboe also explains that they play a major role in meteorology.

– There would be no weather forecast without our station in Svalbard. We download and send all data from US and European weather forecast satellites passing through the poles to the respective organizations. Then they get their weather forecast.

We are simply the largest company in the world connecting space and Earth. We have 250 antennas spread around the world. 150 of them are in Svalbard.

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The storm, which was in part the reason why Artemis 1 couldn’t be launched on Monday, appears to have subsided now.

US Space Force meteorologists expect there will be a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions on Saturday, writes NASA.

This image of Mars was compiled from more than 100 images taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s.  Perhaps Norwegian technology will play a major role when humanity reaches the Red Planet one day.

This image of Mars was compiled from more than 100 images taken by Viking Orbiters in the 1970s. Perhaps Norwegian technology will play a major role when humanity reaches the Red Planet one day.

Photo: NASA/AP

KSAT also has big ambitions for Norway’s future as a space-faring nation.

– The moon is just the beginning. We’re already on our way to March, says the KSAT director.

That’s why the company started the “Moon and Beyond” program.

– Then our ambition is to be the one who provides ground station services to NASA and others, when they send new satellites and rockets back into space, and to Mars.

– Norway should be the one that communicates with more than a hundred satellites and missiles that will go in the coming decades to the moon and Mars. Skatteboe concludes that Artemis is very important to get this started.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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