The Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) on the North-Norwegian island Andøya is a 53.5 MHz monostatic radar with an active phased array antenna consisting of 433 Yagi antennas. The 3-element Yagi antennas are arranged in an equilateral triangle grid forming a circular aperture of approximately 6300 m2. Each individual antenna is connected to its own transceiver with independent phase control and a scalable power output up to 2 kW. This arrangement provides a very high flexibility of beam forming and beam steering with a symmetric radar beam of a minimum beam width of 3.6° allowing classical beam swinging operation as well as experiments with simultaneous multiple beams and the use of interferometric applications for improved studies of the Arctic atmosphere from the troposphere up to the lower thermosphere with high spatio-temporal resolution. The installation of the antenna array was completed in August 2009. The radar control and data acquisition hardware as well as an initial expansion stage of 196 transceiver modules was installed in spring 2010 and upgraded to 343 transceiver modules in November 2010. The final extension to 433 transceiver modules has recently been completed in May 2011. Beside standard observations of tropospheric winds and Polar Mesosphere Summer Echoes, the first multi-beam experiments using up to 97 quasi-simultaneous beams in the mesosphere have been carried out in 2010 and 2011. These results provide a first insight into the horizontal variability of polar mesosphere summer and winter echoes with time resolutions between 3 and 9 minutes. In addition, first meteor head echo observations were conducted during the Geminid meteor shower in December 2010.