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Arctic Access

Norway´s geographical position in the North has made us a nation with a history of polar exploration and strategic and economic interests in the polar regions. 

One of the satellite antennas of KSAT at Trollbasen in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica.

A satellite antenna at Trollbasen in Dronning Maud Land in Antarctica.

Photo: Norwegian Space Agency

Norwegian companies and authorities have used our polar know-how to establish a firm footprint for the space sector in the polar areas. Norway has ground stations for receiving satellite data in two of the coldest and most inhospitable places on Earth, Svalbard and Antarctica. It is the locations of the stations that make them so useful.

A ground station in the Arctic or Antarctica can receive data from the satellite every time it passes over the polar area. The combination of SvalSat (Svalbard) and TrollStat (Antarctica) makes it possible to contact polar -orbiting satellites every 50 minutes. 

Today SvaSat in Svalbard is the largest ground station for polar orbiting satellites in the world. It is receiving data on behalf of many countries and is the main ground station for the European satellite program Galileo and Copernicus. A fibre cable between Svalbard and the mainland makes sure the data travels fast to its destination. 

Since 1962 science rockets have blasted off from Andøya on the coast of Northern Norway. Soon, Andøya Spaceport will offer one of the first European commercial launch pads for launching small satellites into orbit. 

There has long been an unmet need for satellite-based broadband in the Arctic. Today´s geostationary communication satellites have poor coverage in the High North. In 2024 Norway will have two new satellites bringing broadband to the Arctic. 

The Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM) will launch the satellites in a highly elliptical orbit offering continuous broadband at the 68th parallel north, which is roughly where Arctic Circle runs.