Spaceport Sweden has announced plans to offer commercial space flights within the decade. Located in the small Arctic town of Kiruna, Spaceport Sweden aims to provide tourists with two-hour trips aboard a craft that will carry one-to-six passengers, a venture which the company hopes could establish Kiruna as the European port for commercial spaceflights.
This small Arctic town is already an unexpected transportation hub of the north, with regular flights to London and Tokyo. Furthermore, Kiruna has 60 years of space research experience, with Esrange Space Center in its adjacency. The Center is currently working together with rocket technicians of the SSC (Swedish Space Corporation) on assembling the rocket “Rexus 11”.
“Kiruna’s location in the far north of Sweden, and Europe, makes it a prime location for space flights,” said Karin Nilsdotter, director of Spaceport Sweden, a company that plans to make Kiruna the primary European Spaceport for commercial spaceflights. “We’re working on establishing commercial flights from Sweden to space for tourism and research, and to create a launching pad at the airport,” she added.
Spaceport Sweden will be collaborating with a company that will actually build the spacecraft. The identity of the partnering company, as well as the number of operating spacecrafts, is still not known. According to Nilsdotter, the flights could take off four times a day.
The first commercial space flight is expected to happen in the United States in 2014, a few years before the Swedish Spaceport project is completed. More than 1,000 tickets for space flights have already been sold, at around $200,000 per person. Meanwhile, Spaceport Sweden currently offers flights from Kiruna airport to view the northern lights, for a sum of 6,900 kronor ($1,059).