An agreement with the aim to mobilize, stimulate and facilitate the growth of the commercial suborbital human spaceflight industry across borders at Kiruna, Sweden and Mojave, California, US was signed on Friday 21 October 2011 in San Francisco by Mojave Air and Space Port CEO, Stuart Witt and Spaceport Sweden CEO, Karin Nilsdotter.
Mojave Air and Space Port, owned by the East Kern Airport District, is California’s premier location and R&D center for the new commercial man rated space activity being America’s first commercially licensed spaceport, where Scaled Composites’ SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X-Prize in 2004 and numerous firms are currently developing suborbital space vehicles, subsystems and engines.
Spaceport Sweden is a pioneering initiative to establish space tourism in Europe and Sweden with the vision to become a world leading spaceport and hub for commercial human spaceflights and cross-industry innovation.
Located in Kiruna, Swedish Lapland, and Europe’s premier space city since 1957, Spaceport Sweden offers unique world-class experiences through the northern lights and under the midnight sun, further supplying launch infrastructure, R&D facilities and high-tech expertise to commercial space operators.
Ms Nilsdotter said “the aim of the MOU is to broaden Sweden’s efforts by expanding Kiruna’s long history in exploratory atmospheric research using sounding rockets and high altitude balloons by adding human suborbital spaceflights and further establishing a hotspot where minds and industries will meet to share ideas and create innovative products and services providing world-class excitement, entertainment and education using on space as the platform”.
Jointly, Spaceport Sweden and Mojave Air and Space Port will engage in cross-boarder projects to involve evaluating and testing spaceport systems, methods, and processes, and developing joint marketing and sponsorship of events aimed at strengthening the role of commercial spaceports for space travel, education and economic growth.
“We plan to work together to develop a framework that will encourage and facilitate cooperative activity in STEM and space travel and seek further to identify, develop and craft a competition to retire a critical element of humanities manned space exploration” Nilsdotter said.
Mr Witt said “the agreement is the result of a year long effort between the two organizations including trips to Kiruna and Stockholm, Sweden, Washington DC and Mojave, California.” Witt was visited by a Swedish delegation last fall and has made two visits to Sweden this year.
Ms Nilsdotter addressed the ISPCS in New Mexico earlier in the week and “called for a review of America’s ITAR to enable global growth in the commercial space market while opening the world market to American minds and products”, Nilsdotter said.
“This is an historic agreement between two pioneering communities,” Witt said. “Mojave and Kiruna are places that develop, share and encourage big ideas, foster a spirit of innovation, and are blessed with a wealth of talented people. We are both looking forward to this effort to expand this exciting new industry.”