The northernmost city in Sweden, Kiruna, a small Arctic settlement has an international airport and regular flights to London and Tokyo. Now, the town with 18,000 inhabitants has much larger plans: to allow the public to fly in space, establishing the first European spaceport.
Spaceport Sweden, a company, founded in 2007, hopes to offer the first flight in more than a decade, using Kiruna airport.
Space tourists would fly for two hours in space aboard a spacecraft which is now in the testing phase. A combination airplane and spaceship classic modern aircraft can carry between one and six passengers.
Suborbital flights will send passengers to 100 kilometers above the Earth, allowing them to experience the sensation of microgravity for 5 minutes.
The positioning of Kiruna in the far north of Sweden (and Europe), makes it an ideal destination for spaceflight, said Nilsdotter. Spaceflight would be awkward heavy air traffic and the surroundings have a low population density.
The town also benefits from 60 years of experience in space research. Swedish Institute of Space Physics in town was founded in 1857, and Esrange (Swedish center for space research and missile studies) was established in Kiruna in 1966.
Spaceport Sweden will not build its shuttle, but will work with a specialized company, but did not want to show the identity or number of shuttles partner ordered.
In the U.S., several companies are working on designing spacecraft for space tourism, including Virgin Galactic, the company founded by Richard Branson.
The first commercial flights are expected to take place in 2014 in the U.S., and a few years later in Sweden.
In the United States, were reserved over 1,000 tickets for spaceflight, each costing $ 200,000.
For those who are impatient, Spaceport Sweden in Kiruna Airport already offers flights dedicated to admiring the aurora borealis. Those who want to see the air this spectacular phenomenon must pay the sum of 810 euros.