The market for launching smaller satellites expands, but today there is no opportunity to test and develop, for example, reusable rockets, environmentally friendly engines and satellite technology. The establishment of the test facility at Esrange helps to develop Sweden's already outstanding space research and connects the chain from education to completed satellites, says Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn.
– Kiruna offers the best conditions for strengthening our position as a space nation, thanks to the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, which specialises in field systems, SSC-Esrange on launch and Luleå University of Technology's research and education. The investment is very positive for the county but also for Sweden.
Space activities are necessary for a number of community functions using satellite data, but it also helps to achieve several of the UN's global sustainability goals. New telecommunications technology enables microfinance banking in developing countries and satellite technology facilitates surveillance of diseases and epidemics. Birgitta Bergvall-Kåreborn sees several possibilities with the test facility but also a need to henceforth support the building of Sweden and Europe's abilities. Therefore, she is also requesting for a national cooperation program or a special strategic venture to develop satellites that are ready for use.
– We see a whole new research area emerging within industrial AI where research on large volumes of data, as well as the use of data collection and other services is based on space technology. With the help of data centers established in the region, the university is an important player in an international testing ground for space.