Estrange Space Center. Photo: SSC
6 Oct 2021
NIB finances the first major orbital launch site in continental Europe
NIB and the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) have signed a EUR 12 million loan agreement for the final construction of a new spaceport in the Esrange Space Center in Kiruna, northern Sweden.
The 12-year maturity loan will finance the investments to enable the use of reusable rockets and the basic ability to launch small satellites into orbit as early as 2022. The new capacities will be integrated into existing Esrange operations for sounding rockets, stratospheric balloons, advanced test operations and satellite communications.
The space industry estimates that the use of satellites worldwide will grow from approximately 4,000 today to more than 10,000 over the next five to ten years. Currently, there is no site for satellite launching from continental Europe.
“This important milestone means that Sweden will become a launching state, offering the most modern ground technology to European and international satellite owners. This will be of great importance for future research, technology development and expanded international collaboration – all to support a sustainable development of our societies on Earth”, says Stefan Gardefjord, CEO of SSC.
“We are happy to contribute to our member country’s efforts to become a launching state. By expanding service offerings in the growing satellite sector, the project not only increases Sweden’s competitiveness, but also provides new capabilities for the whole European aerospace industry,” says André Küüsvek, NIB President and CEO.
The investments include construction work for the new launch site, integration halls for rockets, clean rooms for satellite integration, the expansion of planned fuel plants, launch pads and surrounding technical ground systems, as well as the further development of technical support systems in Esrange’s operational communication centre.
The Esrange Space Center is a core component of the Swedish space industry and forms one of the most important high-technology operations in the northern parts of Sweden. Through SSC’s close cooperation with academia, it also provides a collaboration and research hub for space science.
The spaceport is part of an on-going investment to upgrade Esrange. With the Bank’s first loan with SSC signed in 2014, NIB has also financed previous phases of the modernisation.
SSC is a state-owned space company with offices in 11 countries and customers on all continents. The company specializes in satellite communications, rocket and balloon systems and launch services, flight test services as well as consulting services for the international space community. SSC has more than fifty years of experience in assisting space agencies, companies and research institutions to gain access to space.
NIB is an international financial institution owned by eight member countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden. The Bank finances private and public projects in and outside the member countries. NIB has the highest possible credit rating, AAA/Aaa, with the leading rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.
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