Fire ravages Esrange Space Centre in northern Sweden

A large fire tore through a scientific space research centre in northern Sweden on Thursday, destroying part of the rocket launch pad, officials said.

The fire broke out early 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 with , 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.

© 2021 AFP

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Image: Esrange launch tower


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