Ibadan, 30 December 2022. – On 13 January 2023, the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf, and European and Swedish political dignitaries will visit Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden to cut the ribbon of a new spaceport. The new spaceport, which saw years of preparation and construction, will significantly reshape the European space landscape. The event will take place in Kiruna in conjunction with Sweden taking over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
For Europe, the new orbital launch facility at Esrange is a long-awaited critical asset. According to the release, only some ten countries currently can launch satellites. Therefore, Spaceport Esrange will offer an independent European gateway to Space, supplementing and strengthening current European capabilities in French Guiana.
“This new launch complex will help create a foundation for a resilient Europe in Space. New satellite constellations in orbit, responsive launch capabilities, and the development of reusable rocketry will enable a secure, competitive, and sustainable Europe,” said Stefan Gardefjord, CEO of the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC). “This is a giant leap for SSC, Sweden, Europe, and the rest of the world. Satellites are decisive for many functions of the daily lives of today’s modern world, and the need for them will only increase in the years to come with Space playing an even more important role,” added Gardefjord.
Besides launching satellites into orbit, Spaceport Esrange will also host the European Space Agency (ESA) ‘s Themis program by ArianeGroup. Furthermore, the launch facility will host suborbital test launches of several next-generation rockets.
As Spaceport Esrange gets closer to the inauguration, satellite owners and orbital rocket manufacturers are lining up as potential partners for future launches and reusability testing. The space center’s schedule puts the first satellite launch in late 2023.