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ESRANGE (European Sounding rocket Range)


The first sounding rocket launch occurred in Sweden was carried out in August 1961, from Kronogård in the north of the country. The Institute of Meteorology at the University of Stockholm launched an Arcas rocket there to create an artificial cloud at about 80 km of altitude. The following year, five launches were carried out in collaboration with NASA and the AFCRL. These experiments, comprising NLC samplings and temperature measurements, continued until 1964.

Kiruna, Sweden (67.9° N / 21.1° E)

As of ESRO creation in June 1962, Sweden was member of this organization, but the convention was ratified by the governments in March 1964 only. ESRO decided to create a sounding rocket range in Sweden to study the Earth's atmosphere, the ionosphere and the auroral phenomena. The ESRANGE was officially inaugurated in September 1966 and the first rocket was launched there on following 20 November.

In 1972, a reorientation of ESRO activities - which was to end at the ESA creation - leads to its disengagement of ESRANGE. On this date, 152 sounding rockets had been launched there: 72 on behalf of the ESRO and 80 as part of national programs. June 30, 1972, the range moved under Swedish government authority via the Swedish Delegation for Space Activities. Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) was charged to undertake the delegation's program, and in particular to manage the ESRANGE.

Currently, ESRANGE includes seven permanent pads able to launch most types of sounding rockets, in particular large size vehicles like Black Brant 9 or Skylark 12, and even Castor 4B used for the MAXUS experiments. More than 400 sounding rockets were launched there.

Tables
a/ Launches from Kronogård
b/ Launches from Kiruna
Listings after Sven Grahn's data, SSC, Sweden


a/ Launches from Kronogård
Detailed list

YearTotalDetail
196111 Arcas
196251 Arcas, 4 Nike Cajun
196344 Nike Cajun
196484 Nike Apache, 4 Nike Cajun

b/ Launches from Kiruna
Detailed list

YearTotalDetail
196633 Centaure
1967169 Centaure, 7 Nike Apache
1968233 Arcas, 3 Black Brant III, 10 Centaure, 5 Nike Apache, 2 Skylark
1969289 Centaure, 6 Nike Apache, 1 Nike Cajun, 8 Petrel, 4 Skylark
1970377 Centaure, 4 Nike Apache, 1 Petrel, 5 Skua, 8 Skylark, 12 Skua
1971417 Centaure, 2 Nike Apache, 12 Petrel, 15 Skua, 5 Skylark
197292 Centaure, 3 Nike Apache, 1 Nike Tomahawk, 3 Skylark
197374 Nike Apache, 1 Nike Cajun, 1 Nike Tomahawk, 1 Skylark
197452 Centaure, 1 Nike Cajun, 2 Nike Tomahawk
197541 Centaure, 3 Nike Apache
197661 Aries, 2 Nike Apache, 2 Nike Tomahawk, 1 Skylark
1977101 Aries, 1 Black Brant VIII, 3 Nike Apache, 1 Nike Tomahawk, 2 Skylark, 2 Super Arcas
1978102 Nike Orion, 1 Orion, 4 Petrel, 3 Skylark
1979102 Aries, 2 Black Brant V, 2 Black Brant VIII, 1 Nike, 1 Nike Orion, 2 Petrel
1980424 Petrel, 4 Nike Orion, 3 Skua, 2 Skylark, 26 Super Loki, 3 Taurus Orion
1981121 Black Brant VIII, 4 Petrel, 1 Nike Orion, 1 Orion, 2 Skua, 3 Skylark,
1982127 Nike Orion, 2 Petrel, 2 Skylark, 1 Super Loki
198351 Black Brant IX, 1 Orion, 1 Otrag, 2 Skylark
198471 Black Brant V, 2 Nike Orion, 1 Orion, 3 Skylark
198531 Orion, 2 Skylark
1986133 Nike Orion, 2 Skylark, 6 Super Loki, 2 Taurus Orion
198761 Black Brant IX, 2 Orion, 3 Skylark
198881 Black Brant V, 2 Black Brant VIII, 1 Black Brant IX, 1 Orion, 3 Skylark
1989102 Black Brant V, 1 Black Brant IX, 1 Orion, 6 Skylark
1990211 Black Brant IX, 4 Nike Orion, 2 Orion, 2 Robin Dart, 7 Skylark, 5 Super Loki
1991312 Black Brant V, 1 Castor 4B, 6 Nike Orion, 2 Orion, 2 Skylark, 3 Super Arcas, 3 Super Loki, 12 Viper III
199241 Black Brant IX, 1 Castor 4B, 1 Nike I-Orion, 1 Skylark
1993132 Nike Orion, 1 Nike I-Orion, 1 Orion, 3 Skylark, 6 Viper
199451 Nike I-Orion, 1 Orion, 1 I-Orion, 2 Skylark
199561 Castor 4B, 1 Nike Orion, 2 Nike I-Orion, 2 Orion
199633 Skylark
199711 I-Orion
199881 Castor 4B, 5 Nike I-Orion, 1 Orion, 1 Skylark
199921 Black Brant V, 1 Skylark
200022 Skylark
200171 Castor-4B, 2 I-Orion, 1 Skylark, 3 Super Loki
200211 Skylark
200321 Castor-4B, 1 Skylark
200431 Castor-4B, 1 I-Orion, 1 Skylark


External resources
The first rockets launched into space from Sweden
Sounding Rockets from Kronogård in the early 60's
Index of ESRANGE brochure
ESRANGE launches since 1991
DLR Mobile Rocket Base
NASA Sounding Rockets Launch Log


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Please contact Jean-Jacques Serra <JJ.Serra@wanadoo.fr> for comments, corrections or questions