Arctic Town to Offer Space Flights

Spaceport Sweden wants to launch people like clockwork
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 17, 2012 6:40 PM CST

(Newser) – 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.

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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." (Read more space travel stories.)

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