US private space firm Firefly to launch satellites from northern Sweden 

Swedish Space Corporation

Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) has announced a partnership with US private space company Firefly to launch satellites from the Esrange space center in Northern Sweden. 

Starting in 2026, Firefly will use the Swedish range to launch its satellite-carrying “Alpha” rocket on behalf of civilian and military customers.  

Firefly launched its “Alpha” rocket successfully for the first time in October 2022 from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The space firm has another launch facility on the East Coast, at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia. 

A space center has existed at Esrange, close to the Arctic Circle, since the 1960s and is operated by the SCC, Sweden’s government-owned space corporation. However, the Esrange facilities have recently received an upgrade and expansion, providing them with the capability to act as a launchpad to put satellites into orbit.  

The new Esrange Spaceport was inaugurated in January 2023 in the presence of Carl Gustaf XVI, King of Sweden, and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. 

This is the first time a US space company or organization has opted to launch its rockets from European soil.  

This fact was emphasized in an announcement from SCC, which highlighted the increased strategic cooperation between the two countries after Sweden’s entry into NATO. 

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