A company in a tiny Arctic town plans to launch people into space like clockwork, on two-hour trips four times a day. But a little more work—or even a lot—is required first, AFP reports. The company, Spaceport Sweden, is building a unique vessel that combines a space shuttle with an airplane. And director Karin Nilsdotter is already counting the customers who will trek to the town of Kiruna: "Even if it's too early to give any figures, market studies show there is potential for 14,000 travellers after 10 years of business," she says.
But she says the technology "isn't fully developed yet" and competitors like Virgin Atlantic are already launching test flights in the US. A few things are going for her, however: Kiruna has a 60-year history of space research, there's little air traffic to clutter things up, and wide-open spaces within Sweden ensure there's no red tape with other countries. Still, the head of a space research and rocket site in town offers a cautionary note: "In a few years there may be commercial space flights, but it will take longer than people think."