The Esrange Space Center Takes Shape in Sweden’s Far NorthBy Michelle Stone
At this point, who hasn’t heard about Starbase? Elon Musk, the founder, CEO, and chief engineer of SpaceX has made clear his intentions of building a new city near its Texas launch site.
The idea sounds simply too grand to conceptualize but, if anyone can make this happen, it’s the person who commercialized space travel. Years from now, just about where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Rio Grande, a space-age haven, will stand demanding your awe.
But, wait… There’s news from the other side of the world, too. Thousands of miles away, in polar opposite climate, there stands a spaceport posing yet more competition for the great Musk in the notorious space race.
The Esprange Space Center
North of the Arctic Circle, near Kiruna, Sweden, the Estrange Space Center is nearing completion, the efforts of which were supervised by the Swedish Space Corporation, a publicly owned entity
This couldn’t have sprung at a better time since Europe, and the US are looking to launch multiple satellites into space in this decade. First entrusted to Sweden in 1972 by the European Space Agency, the Arctic space research facility has duly accepted this renewed sense of responsibility.
How Is It Better Than Starbase?
For the Americans, Texas or Florida seem like the most favorable locales to launch their rockets from but, launching them from the Arctic Circle comes with its own set of benefits. For starters, a remote location like Esrange offers a 2,000-square-mile landing zone.
Additionally, thanks to the location, there’s a significant decrease in the energy required to launch a satellite into space. Not to mention, launching over the North and South poles into polar orbit allows for a more comprehensive view of Earth.
Besides the natural gifts it possesses, Kiruna and its surrounding areas are already ahead in the race, infrastructurally speaking. The top Swedish scientific minds are already pretty familiar with the area given to the many numbers of space research projects conducted over the years. Two magnificent programs, a specialized Space High School program in Kiruna, and a Ph.D. program in space engineering at the Lulea University of Technology regularly attracts the freshest and brightest minds to the area.
Will Esrange Be A Success?
As Esrange escalates its efforts to become the primal launching pad for Europe, there’s nary a doubt that interested parties will line up to use the facilities it has to offer. According to the New York Times, an ex-SpaceX VP has funded $100 million to German rocketry startups, which have already begun testing out engines on site.
All in all, the Swedish Space Corporation remains grounded in the opinion that not only is Esrange essential for its Scandinavian neighbors, but for the