Russia launched military rocket. It could be seen over northern Norway

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - December 21, 2023
Rocket launch from Plesetsk. Photo:


A rocket carrying a space installation for the Russian Ministry of Defence was Thursday morning launched from the north Russian Plesetsk Space Center. It could be seen over the Norwegian border town of Kirkenes.

According to the Russian Ministry of Defence, a rocket carrier type Soyuz-2.1b was Thursday at 11.48 am launched from Plesetsk, the space launch center in the north Russian region of Arkhangelsk.

The rocket carries military space installations, the ministry informs.


Shortly after launch, the rocket could be seen over northern Norway. A journalist working at the Sør-Varanger Avis filmed the space installation as it moved over the border town of Kirkenes. “It looks as if the rocket and the carrier now separate,” the journalist reported.


Russian Notice to Airman (NOTAM) over big areas in the Barents Sea. Screenshot from

As reported by the Barents Observer, Russia has this week closed off major parts of the Barents Sea because of military activity.

The Notice to Airman (NOTAM) includes a large area north of the Kola Peninsula, as well as an area in the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) north of the Bear Island in the Barents Sea.

The NOTAM also includes an area in the outer parts of the Varanger fjord, only about 100 north of Kirkenes. The NOTAM covers the period from December 21st to 25th.


The NOTAM in the outer Varanger fjord overlaps from Russian economic zone into the Norwegian EEZ. At the nearest, the danger area is 23 kilometers (12 nautical miles) from Vardø, in other words straight up to Norway’s 12 nautical miles territorial sea. Screenshot from

The NOTAM reads “Impact area for Russian missiles”.

Russia had previously announced a Soyuz 2.1 rocket for launch, as well as an Arktika-M No.2 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Located in Kirkenes, Norway, just a few kilometres from the borders to Russia and Finland, the Barents Observer is dedicated to cross-border journalism in Scandinavia, Russia and the wider Arctic.

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