Norway Isn't Amused After Swedish Rocket Crashed on Its Turf

The Swedish research rocket landed in Norway after a non-nominal flight path.
The Swedish research rocket landed in Norway after a non-nominal flight path.

A wayward rocket has caused a rift between two Scandinavian nations after accidentally falling on the wrong side of the border.

On Monday, the Sweden Space Corporation (SSC) launched the TEXUS-58 rocket from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The rocket took “a slightly longer and more westerly trajectory than expected,” SSC wrote in a statement. As a result, the Swedish rocket crashed in neighboring Norway.

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The research rocket, part of a European program commissioned by the European Space Agency, was used to carry out experiments in zero gravity at an altitude of 155 miles (250 kilometers). On its way back down, however, TEXUS-58 landed around 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of the planned landing site.

Norwegian authorities condemned the misplaced crash, calling out its neighboring country for failing to report the rocket’s unexpected landing trajectory. “The crash of a rocket like this is a very serious incident that can cause serious damage,” Norway’s foreign ministry said, according to The Guardian. “When such a border violation occurs, it is crucial that those responsible immediately inform the relevant Norwegian authorities through the proper channels.”

TEXUS-58 landed in an uninhabited area in Norway’s northern mountainside. Although no damage was done, the incident is still being investigated to avoid any risk in the future. “This is a deviation that we take seriously,” Marko Kohberg, head of the Sounding rocket and Balloon operations at Esrange Space Center, said in SSC’s statement. “We are now investigating the reason why the rocket flew further northwest than nominal. It is still too early to speculate about the cause, and we await more information from the current investigation.”

The suborbital rocket was recovered on Tuesday and transported back to Esrange by helicopter, according to SSC. But Norway’s foreign ministry also claimed that Sweden was not supposed to retrieve its rocket without Norwegian authorization, The Guardian reported.

As the space industry continues to grow and more rockets takeoff into the skies, these incidents are expected to occur more frequently. Obviously, there are still some kinks to work out regarding how to properly handle rocket crashes that defy borders.

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