More than 550 sounding rockets and 520 stratospheric balloons have been launched from Esrange Space Center. This gives the Center a leading position on the world map of launching facilities. In addition we provide the largest civil ground station for satellites in the world.
Esrange Space Center is located in northern Sweden above the Arctic Circle at lat. 67° 53'N, long 21° 04'E. The town closest to the range is Sweden's principal mining town Kiruna, which is about half an hour away by car. Access to Kiruna is very good with several daily jet flight connections with Stockholm.
It started in 1966 with sounding rockets
In March 1964, ESRO (European Space Research Organisation) was founded by Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Germany. The aim was to establish a co-ordinated scientific programme for peaceful space research, combined with advanced research for technological development, and to support European industry in the member countries. Esrange Space Center was built by ESRO and inaugurated in 1966. A great number of rocket projects were executed between November 1966 and June 1972.
In 1972 SSC took over the ownership
Since July 1 1972, Esrange Space Center has been managed by SSC. The rocket and balloon activities are co-ordinated and financed by the Esrange Andøya Special Project (EASP) within ESA (European Space Agency). The member states of ESA/EASP are today France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway and Sweden.
Stratospheric balloons activities
In 1974 we completed a launching facility for scientific balloons at Esrange Space Center. This facility has been continuously upgraded to enable launches of 1,000,000 m3 balloons with payloads weighing up to many tons. The nominal impact point normally chosen is situated 75 km north of the launch pads. The impact area for balloons covers the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia, Canada and Alaska.
The assigned missions for Esrange Space Center, regarding sounding rockets and balloons are:
- Support of the sounding rocket and balloon programmes of the member states of ESA/EASP. Non-members can use the facilities on a second priority basis.
- Operation of ground based scientific instrumentation.
The rocket impact area is located north of Esrange Space Center in the Swedish tundra region. This area is divided into three zones, A, B, and C, with a total area of 5,600 km².
Zone A, the impact area for boosters, can be extended when rockets with long-range boosters are launched. Zones B and C are impact areas for second and third stages as well as payloads. Zone C is not allowed for use during the period May 1 - September 15.
User's Handbook - Sounding Rocket & Balloon
Esrange Safety Manual
List of all rocket launches
List of all balloon launches