67.89388888888921.106944444444Koordinaten: 67 ° 53 ' 38 "N, 21 ° 6' 25" E
Esrange (European Space and Sounding Rocket Range ) is a balloon - and rocket launch site for the launch of sounding rockets near Kiruna in Sweden. Esrange is a purely civilian facility that is operated by the Swedish Space Corporation ( SSC ). Rocket and balloon launches are coordinated by the Esrange Special Project Andøya ( EASP ) of the ESA. Member States of ESA / EASP are France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden. Esrange is part of the Vidsel Test Range.
The experiments carried out in Esrange includes attempts to study materials and plant growth in microgravity as part of the TEXUS project. In addition, also launches of stratospheric balloons take place. In addition, Esrange also an earth station ( TT & C ) for some geostationary satellites ( Tele-X ), ( Sirius Group ) and for some Polar Orbiter ( Odin, etc.).
The launch site was from 1964 to 1966 by the European Space Research Organisation ( ESRO short ), the forerunner of the ESA, built. The first rocket launch took place in 1966. On 1 July 1972, the SSC took over from the ESRO management of the site. First British Skylark rockets were used for the test flights mostly. Once these are no longer manufactured, used since 2004 Brazilian VSB - 30th
2009 and 2013 launched in Esrange, the helium balloon, carrying the solar telescope SUNRISE into the stratosphere to observe from there the sun.
Use for space tourism
In 2006, the American company Virgin Galactic with the Swedish government a contract to use the launch site for space flights.