Esrange, the space centre in northern Sweden, is best known for launching high-altitude rockets and research balloons. Now the Swedish Space Corporation wants to be the first location north of the Arctic Circle to provide facilities for launching satellites into orbit. The government is now investing in the further development of infrastructure in Esrange. This makes Sweden unique as a European space nation.
90 million kronor (8.6 million euros) has been approved by the government and is in addition to previous investments in the construction of a test facility in Esrange. The national space strategy presented by the government in 2018 emphasises that Esrange is a strategic resource for national and international research and development, as well as other space-related activities. Now, by investing in infrastructure, the possibility of sending small satellites into space orbit is being further developed.
One way to send small satellites into orbit would mean that Sweden will be at the forefront of developments in space. The investment has a positive impact on research, innovation, the economy, the region and Sweden. Satellite transmissions are an important contribution to research and knowledge growth. It is pivotal to several areas, not least when it comes to important initiatives for climate and the environment, says Matilda Ernkrans, Minister for Higher Education and Research.
The development of a Swedish capability to send satellites into orbit will create an increased international appeal for Swedish high-tech operations and better conditions for Swedish industry and technology development. For the region, the investment offers both direct and indirect development opportunities for the business world, including new jobs, says Ibrahim Baylan, Minister of Trade and Industry.
The market for the launch of small satellites is expected to literally skyrocket in the next few years. While there are about 2,000 satellites in orbit today, the number will reach about 10,000 to 12,000 by 2030.
Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal
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