Next step for Spaceport Esrange

Kiruna The establishment of Europe's first satellite launch facility is taking a new step forward as several public financiers are now investing funds in the SmallSat Launch project.

Region Norrbotten, Kiruna municipality and Längmanska företagarfonden are contributing funds to SmallSat Launch, which aims to establish the launch site Spaceport Esrange.

The ability to launch satellites is expected to become an important regional, national and European strategic resource for a competitive, sustainable and secure Europe. Space technology is an important development area in the regional strategy for smart specialization.

"The ability to launch small satellites can become an important engine for research, innovation and sustainable growth in Norrbotten. It contributes to international attractiveness. By connecting space actors with education, research and business, we hope to increase regional growth and innovation capacity," says Janus Brandin, Regional Development Director at Region Norrbotten.

The SmallSat Launch project will work with licensing, insurance, customs management, analysis and system development. It will also strengthen cooperation between space actors and the region's small and medium-sized enterprises. In total, the project support comprises SEK 11 million. Region Norrbotten is contributing SEK 7 million, from the state appropriation for regional development. Kiruna Municipality is contributing SEK 3 million and Längmanska Företagarfonden SEK 1 million. SSC will then contribute SEK 3 million to the project, which will be a step towards establishing the EU mainland's first satellite launch site.

The infrastructure for launching satellites is already in place and the first launch is expected in 2024.

"Space activities are already of great importance for Kiruna and Norrbotten. There is Esrange, the Institute for Space Physics, Luleå University of Technology's space program, a Space High School and the international research facility EISCAT. Now space companies from all over the world are turning to SSC to launch their satellites from Swedish soil. This creates enormous opportunities and the local and regional support will be crucial in this work," says Lennart Poromaa, site manager at Esrange.

Lennart Håkansson