Esrange Space Center the SSC launch facility, is located in northern Sweden, 45 km from the town of Kiruna at 67oN, 21oE.
The Kiruna area offers unique opportunities for space and environmental research. Therefore it is not surprising that sophisticated facilities for space researchers and users of space technology have grown up here. Esrange is the centre for these operations and has long experience in rocket launching, high-altitude balloons, and the control and operation of different types of satellite. Through the years, Esrange has evolved into a European centre for space research and a world centre for ozone research in the northern hemisphere.
Work at Esrange is carried out under contract to research and space organisations, and to companies in Sweden, Europe, the USA and Japan and other countries.
Located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle and surrounded by a vast wilderness, Esrange’s geographic location offers several unique advantages:
- Payloads from sounding rockets have a land touchdown area 120 x 75 km in size (5200 square km).
- The touchdown area for balloon payloads is a vast land area in the north of Sweden, Norway and Finland.
- The location is outstanding for observations of boreal phenomena such as northern lights, noctilucent clouds and mother-of-pearl clouds.
- Polar satellites make 12 to 14 passes daily through Esrange’s coverage area.
More than 575 sounding rockets and 675 stratospheric balloons have been launched from Esrange, making it one of the world’s leading launch facilities.
REXUS – Rocket EXperiments for University Students – is a sounding rocket programme.
BEXUS – Balloon EXperiments for University Students – is an annual stratospheric research balloon programme.