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1. Who constructed Spaceport Sweden?
In 2006 four parties in the town of Kiruna signed an agreement to use their joint resources to create Spaceport Sweden:
Swedish Space Corporation (Esrange Space Center)
The LFV Group (Kiruna Airport)
Progressum (business development in Kiruna)

2. When was the official start of Spaceport Sweden?
Spaceport Sweden was founded in January 2007.

3. Why was Spaceport Sweden built?
The town of Kiruna, where Spaceport Sweden is located, is a space city since the end of the 1950:s. It started out with a group of space physicists, went on with launchings of sounding rockets and large stratospheric balloons, satellite operations and control, testing of new aerospace vehicles. The town hosts a lot of infrastructure related to both space and tourism activities so Kiruna is well prepared for space tourism and more or less made for it. It would be stupid not to move forward to the next step; space tourism.

4. What kind of infrastructure is already in place?
Esrange Space Center has been in operation for suborbital launches since 1966. Here we have the operational facilities needed to communicate with space vehicles, from sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons, UAV:s to satellites and other space vehicles.
Kiruna Airport with a 2500 m runway and a huge hangar to host aerospace vehicles.
Icehotel with its unique hotel build in snow and ice, in addition to a large bouquet of exiting adventures, both during winter and summer, in Swedish Lapland.

5. How and why was the contact with Virgin Galactic achieved?
We contacted VG early in 2006 to interest them in our spaceport. They have been to Kiruna many times and already in an early stage they realized that Spaceport Sweden had a very special and unique touch to offer.
“Spaceport Sweden is very interesting for us thanks to their expertise in space technology and innovative thinking, as well as the fact that Kiruna can offer unique experiences such as the northern lights and the Icehotel during winter and the midnight sun during summer“, says Mr. Will Whitehorn, president of Virgin Galactic.

6. When are Virgin Galactic’s first commercial flights to space supposed to be launched from Spaceport Sweden?
Not earlier than 2012. See the interview with Sir Richard Branson here.

7. How many flights are you planning to do from Spaceport Sweden?
We plan to make 3-4 flight a week, each with 6 passengers, to begin with.

8. Are you planning to fly all year around?
We are planning to fly both during the winter and the summer season.
January – Mars, when we can offer nights with Aurora (northern lights) and all winter activities on ground are in full operation.
June – September, when we can offer flights in the midnight sun. In September the light conditions will be normal again and the autumn colors start to appear.

9. How do you sell your tickets?
We do not sell tickets. They are sold by travel agencies that are collaborating with Virgin Galactic or other spaceship operators planning to fly from Spaceport Sweden.

10. One of the existing airport assets you are offering is the Arena Artica with a hangar space of 5.000 m2 operating at +18 C for outside temperatures of -20 C and below. Do you expect any modifications of the hangar for commercial suborbital flights with respect to passenger handling and/or for flight monitoring and control activities.
We are definitely going to modify Kiruna Airport so that it suits space travel better. For the moment a master plan for the airport is taking shape and it will be ready early next year.

11. Do you need special preparations for security and/or flight emergencies at the Spaceport?
Most of the preparations are similar to ordinary jet operations, but we will need to work with Virgin Galactic on the special requirements for handling and fueling the rocket engine. We are also working with the air traffic controllers to develop the routine and contingency operations for these flights.

12. Are you planning to augment the existing airport operations personnel?
This will depend on the handling requirements, initially we intend to work very closely with the Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites staff.

13. Do you foresee a back-up landing option?
There are several alternate airport landing options. When the spaceship is ready to be released we will have full access to the runway at Spaceport Sweden.

14. ESA recognizes the private sector’s efforts on space tourism and intends to provide the necessary environment for this industry to flourish, e.g., setting up the legal framework for operations across Europe or for astronaut training and space medicine. Are you planning to consult with ESA?
Absolutely. We very much welcome ESA’s positive position to commercial spaceflight.

15. How do you see the interface between the regular airport traffic and the suborbital flights. Of course at the beginning this would be easy to coordinate e.g., similar to the coordination of sounding rocket campaigns. However we understand that the clearance with the authorities is not defined yet. NASA established the Advanced Range Technologies Working Group (ARTWG) and Advanced Spaceport Technologies working Group (ASTWG) interacting with the Future Interagency Range and Spaceport Technologies Program (FIRST). Are you participating in those activities?
We have a very good dialogue with the Swedish authorities and also the Federal Aviation Authority in the USA. Having launched suborbital rockets, albeit unmanned, for the last 42 years have provided us with a good know-how on how to safely perform launch operations in harmony with ordinary aviation. We have also used US flight hardware, which may be under ITAR restrictions, for decades. It is of course a strength to know how to work with authorities on such matters too.

16. It is assumed that after the successful completion of suborbital flights Spaceport Sweden would support point-to-point flights for high-speed transportation as well. What flight destinations or origins would you see?
It would be very interesting to offer point-to-point flights between our and other spaceports. Imagine starting of from our winter city with snow, skiing, dog sledge riding, Icehotel and the northern light and land in Spaceport America in a summer land of sand and sun. It must of course be understood that at the moment point-to-point flights are not supported by any vehicles, and we need to learn to walk before we run. But it is a great vision of the future!

17. You are advertising the Spaceport Sweden with the beauty of the undisturbed nature. Although of no technical consequence for the overall global CO2 problems – are you prepared to counteract criticism of environmentalists?
The environmental impact is a question that we consider as most important. We believe that all efforts possible should be made to find new and more environment friendly ways to access space. The only way to achieve this is to continue to develop new space vehicles and new fuels.

The answers to questions about SpaceShipTwo and the flight is found on the Virgin Galactic web site
For example:
– Will tourist travelers officially become an astronaut?
– How can I buy a space ticket?
– How much does a space ticket cost?
– How frequently will the flights bee?
– How many passengers and pilots will there be on each flight?
– What does the space flight consist of?
– What does the space ship look like?
– How does the training before a flight proceed?
– What environmental impact will SpaceShipTwo have?
– Etc.