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Sweden to host Europe’s first satellite launch station

Sweden to host Europe’s first satellite launch station

The Esrange Space Center is located above the Arctic Circle

Last week, The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) reported that it had signed a loan agreement with the Nordic Investment Bank that will make possible the creation of the European Union’s first satellite launch site. The new spaceport will enrich the Esrange Space Center, a Space technology research facility located near Kiruna, in the far north of Sweden.

That is sure to position Sweden as a pioneer in the space industry

The loan, valued at 12 million euros, will go towards extensive modernization of the space centre, something that has already been going on since 2015. The new launching pad is expected to be quickly completed given that the aim is to launch the first satellite from there already in 2022.

This important milestone means that Sweden will become a launching state, offering the most modern ground technology possible to European and international satellite owners. This will be of great importance for future research, technology development and expanded international collaboration – all to support sustainable development of life on Earth”, explained Stefan Gardefjord, CEO of SSC.

The project entails construction work for the new launch site, including integration halls for rockets and satellites, expansion of planned fuel plants, launch pads and surrounding technical ground systems as well as the development of technical support systems in Esrange's operational communication centre.

The Esrange Space Center opened in 1966 and has been used since then to launch sub-orbital rockets and high-altitude balloons. Now, the SSC will be able to also launch satellites weighing up to 150 kilograms. With that, the state-owned corporation is hoping to tap into the growing space industry market, which has been underutilized according to experts.

With more than 50 years of experience from launching rockets and balloons, Esrange Space Center is already one of the most active and versatile launch sites in the world. And with the new spaceport capability it will most likely become the first launch site on European mainland to provide a platform for space companies to develop their next-generation rocket technologies and launch their satellites”, said Philip Påhlsson, Project Manager for the New Esrange at SSC.

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