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Plans for Spaceport Sweden

03.04.08

Plans for Spaceport Sweden

Spaceport Sweden and Virgin Galactic progress plans for space journeys

Senior representatives from Spaceport Sweden and Virgin Galactic presented today, at a press conference at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden, their latest progress towards commercial spaceflights for private space tourists.

The press conference was opened by Dr. Olle Norberg, the initiator and chairman of Spaceport Sweden. After had welcomed everyone he handed over to Mr. Sven Grahn, senior advisor at Swedish Space Corporation, who presented his work related to the establishment of Spaceport Sweden.

Will Whitehorn, President of Virgin Galactic (VG), talked about the challenge and necessity of designing totally new and energy efficient techniques to access space, which will help to transform the applications of space at a time when civilization needs all the technological help it can get. He also explained VG’s vision of not only offering spaceflights to the general public but also of developing a launch vehicle that could be part of a longer term development programme involving space science, payload deployment and potentially other applications yet to be defined.

A significant factor of working together with Spaceport Sweden is that, in common with Spaceport America in New Mexico which will be our primary operating base, they can, as and when we are able to operate outside the US, offer much more that just a spaceport for space tourism, said Mr. Will Whitehorn. I’m not just thinking about the unique adventures one can enjoy in the Kiruna area, but also the long experience that Spaceport Sweden has in space science with sounding rockets, (i.e. suborbital flight performed by the Swedish Space Corporation from Esrange Space Center). They have been in this business since 1966 and have the experience, the knowledge and the infrastructure needed to launch and communicate with experiments performed in space in real time. This really matches our vision of making further use of the new technology developed by Burt Rutan at Scaled Composites in California.

Stephen Attenborough, Commercial Director of Virgin Galactic, talked about the size and potential of the space tourism market which has justified VG’s faith and investment in developing the air and space vehicles and establishing the worlds first commercial spaceline. VG’s customer numbers continue to grow strongly, now around 250 firm reservations and well over $30 million dollars in deposits, with another 85000 people having registered an interest in flying with VG in the future. The customers come from a broad range of backgrounds, they cover a wide age group and hail from 30 countries. 80 of them have started their preparations for the space flight by climbing into a centrifuge and have effectively “gone to space”. They experienced 3,5 G’s on the way up and 6 G’s on the way down.

Invited media spoke to a number of Virgin Galactic´s future Astronauts making a special visit to Kiruna.. Their programme was devised by the ICEHOTEL, the partner in Spaceport Sweden responsible for arranging all the unique adventures that come with a visit in the land of the northern lights and the midnight sun.

For more information please contact: Dr. Olle Norberg, chairman of Spaceport Sweden Phone: +46 980 720 24 or +46 70 587 20 42 E-mail: olle.norberg@esrange.ssc.se

Ms Susan Newsam Virgin Galactic Telephone +44 207 447 1926 E-mail: Susan.newsam@virgingalactic.com

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