Temporary ranges

Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland, Denmark (50.6°W, 67.0°N)

The first sounding rockets launches from Greenland were carried out from the American ice-breaker Eastwind during the summer 1952. They were experiments of the Rockoon (Rocket on Balloon) program in which small Deacon rockets were fired after being elevated up to 16 km of altitude by means of balloons. This program of studies, directed by Pr James A. Van Allen, comprised experiments from the State University of Iowa and the Naval Research Laboratory. After two other campaigns in 1953 and 1954, the 1955 campaign saw the introduction of Loki rockets, less powerful but cheaper, and also Deacon-Loki 2-stage rockets. The 1957 campaign used only Loki II rockets.

Thereafter, AFCRL proceeded to several Arcas launching campaigns from Thule Air Force Base within the framework of the PCA program (Polar Cape Absorption). Thule Air Force Base was also a launch site in the Meteorological Rocket Network (MRN) and a lot of meteorological rockets (Loki-Dart) were launched there.

In 1971 the Danish Meteorological Institute set up a sounding rocket range at Sondre Stromfjord in Greenland. The object was to conduct sounding-rocket experiments in the particular ionospheric regions known as the "dayside auroral oval" and "polar cap ionosphere". Sondre Stromfjord is an airport located at the inland end of a narrow fiord of the same name. The rocket range is manned during launch periods only. On August 22 and 24, 1971 two Nike-Apache were the first rockets launched there, as part of the Danish national program. Other rockets launches campaigns were carried out from Sondre Stromfjord since, most of them in cooperation with USA, but also with Germany, Sweden, and United Kingdom.

a/ Rockoon launches between Boston and Thule
b/ Launches from Thule
c/ Launches from Sondre Stromfjord

Vik, Iceland (19.0°W, 63.7°N)
Two French Dragon rockets campaigns were carried out using a CNES mobile ramp settled at Vik, Iceland. Four sounding rockets were launched (2 in August 1964 and 2 in August-September 1965) for high latitude van Allen belts studies.

Coronie, Dutch Guyana (now Surinam) (56.2°W, 5.8°N)
Four Nike-Apache sounding rockets were launched in September 1965 from the northern part of Dutch Guyana. These experiments were carried out by the university of Utrecht and the KNMI (Dutch Weather Bureau) for studying winds at high altitude.

Karystos, Evia island, Greece (24.6°E, 38.0°N)
A sounding rockets launching range was established on the Evia island to observe the eclipse of 20 May 1966. Seven ESRO rockets (5 Sparrow-Arcas and 2 Centaure) were launched during the eclipse, after two launches (1 Sparrow-Arcas and 1 Centaure) on 15 May. NASA participated in this campaign too, launching 7 boosted-Arcas from a ship (1 on 15 May, 5 during the eclipse and 1 the following day).

Dumont d'Urville station, Adelie Land, Antarctica, France (140°E, 66.7°S)
The Dumont d'Urville station was used, in January 1967, for a launch campaign comprising four Dragon rockets. The objective of experiments (CNES and Ionospheric Research Group) related to the study of the anomalies of the upper atmosphere behavior centered over magnetic midday.

Port aux Français, Kerguelen islands, Indian ocean, France (70.3°E, 49.4°S)
Several sounding rockets launching campaigns occurred from the Kerguelen islands:
- in March-April 1968, three rocket Dragon IIB for a CNES program ,
- in January-February 1975, two Eridan rockets fired for the ARAKS program (ARtificial Aurora between Kerguelen and Sogra) carried out in Franco-Russian collaboration. Two Arcas rockets were also fired before and after each Eridan rocket as part of an American program,
- between 1973 and 1981, several dozens of M-100 rockets launched as part of a Russian program carried out in conjunction with some other launch sites distributed from North Pole to South Pole, intended to proceed to meridian cut of the upper atmosphere.

Table d/ Launches from Kerguelen islands

Haugnes (16.2°E, 69.3°N) and Marka, Lista (7.3°E, 58.2°N), Norway
In the beginning of the 80's, Norway launched meteorological rockets (Super Loki) from two temporary sites. Four rockets were launched from the Haugnes site, near Andøya in 1982. Eight have were launched from Marka, south of Norway, in 1983, then four in 1984.

Zingst, former Eastern Germany (12.80°E, 54.44°N)
The Weather Service of former Eastern Germany launched five Polish Meteor-1 rockets from the Zingst rocket range during the seventies. Then, between 1988 and 1992, several dozens of Russian MMR06-M meteorological rockets were launched from that place.

Table e/ Launches from Zingst peninsula

Lists under construction (probably incomplete) - Informations or corrections are welcome

a/ Rockoon launches between Boston and Thule
195277 Deacon
19532222 Deacon
19542020 Deacon
19552618 Deacon, 6 Loki I, 2 Deacon-Loki I
19571818 Loki II

b/ Launches from Thule Air Force Base (63.8°W, 76.4°N)
197055 Arcas
197166 Sparrow-Arcas
197264 Arcas, 2 Sparrow-Arcas
197311 Sparrow-Arcas
197411 Sparrow-Arcas

c/ Launches from Sondre Stromfjord (50.6°W, 67.0°N)
Detailed list

197122 Nike-Apache
197211 Nike-Tomahawk
197492 Black Brant 4, 3 Nike-Tomahawk, 4 Petrel
197511 Black Brant 4
197622 Nike-Tomahawk
198581 Black Brant IX, 2 Black Brant X, 1 Nike-Tomahawk, 1 Taurus-Orion, 1 Taurus-Tomahawk, 2 Terrier-Malemute
198792 Black Brant IX, 1 Nike-Tomahawk, 1 Taurus-Tomahawk, 3 Taurus-Nike-Tomahawk, 2 Terrier-Malemute

d/ Launches from Kerguelen Islands (70.3°E, 49.4°S)

196833 Dragon
19731717 M-100
197422 M-100
1975175 Arcas, 2 Eridan, 10 M-100
19782020 M-100
19792020 M-100
19802020 M-100
19812020 M-100

e/ Launches from Zingst peninsula (12.80°E, 54.44°N)
Detailed list

197?55 Meteor-1
198866 MMR06-M
19891313 MMR06-M
19902424 MMR06-M
19921919 MMR06-M

of the page





Please contact Jean-Jacques Serra <> for comments, corrections or questions