Fire tears through northern Swedish space research centre

Part of a rocket launch pad was destroyed after a large fire at the Esrange scientific space research centre in northern Sweden.

Fire tears through northern Swedish space research centre
A fire at the Esrange Space Centre in Kiruna, Sweden. Photo: Rymdbolaget SSC/TT

The fire broke out early on Thursday “during a scheduled static firing test of a solid rocket motor” and was under control by late afternoon when “post-extinguishing work” was being conducted, Esrange Space Centre said in a statement.

Located in the town of Kiruna, the centre is a base for scientific research with high-altitude balloons, studies on the aurora borealis phenomenon (also known as the Northern Lights), sounding rocket launches and satellite tracking, among other things.

No injuries were reported, though some staff were taken to hospital for a check-up.

The fire damaged “part of the sounding rocket launching infrastructure,” Esrange Space Centre said.

“The full extent of damages and consequences for launching operations cannot yet be assessed,” it said.

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