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Spaceport Sweden Working Side By Side With Spaceport America

Johanna Bergstrom-Roos and Beatrice Nordin, Spaceport sweden, Anousheh Ansari (middle).
by Staff Writers
Las Cruces NM (SPX) Oct 29, 2009
In January 2009 Spaceport Sweden and Spaceport America signed an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the aim to develop in parallel as sister spaceports. This past week representatives from the two spaceports met again and attended several most successful working meetings.

A large team from Spaceport Sweden visited Las Cruces in New Mexico to confirm this important relationship as well as to participate in the International Symposium of Personal and Commercial Spaceflight (ISPCS).

Two presentations were made by the Swedish team; the first was held by Mr. Bengt Jaegtnes, Vice President for Spaceport Sweden, who talked about new investments at Kiruna Airport in order to enable commercial spaceflight.

The second was held by Mr. Dan Bjork, Marketing Director at ICEHOTEL, who spoke about the importance of developing the tourist concept in parallel with the space facilities. In addition fruitful networking and meetings within two networks took place; the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and the FastForward Studygroup (focusing on point to point transportation).

Signals from the symposium
It is now quite obvious that commercial spaceflight is taken seriously by the space community.

The plans for space tourism, that dominated very heavily in the initial phase of the discussion of commercial spaceflight, has now got company by a vast range of other space domains; human spaceflight discussions heavily focused on flight safety, science and research discussions focused on microgravity topics, deployment of satellites from the new launch systems and advances in low earth orbit transportation both for passengers and cargo are the most mentioned.

Very many also express their expectation of low cost access to space in a more environmentally friendly way.

Voices from the panellists
Why should we develop commercial spaceflight and build spaceports around the world? These two questions are answered by several well respected and "way paving" persons within the space community, all attending at the symposium:

Mr. Alan Ladwig, Senior Advisor for NASA headquarters.

Mr. Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer XCOR Aerospace.

Mr. Brett Alexander, President of Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF).

Mr. John Olds, Chairman of the FastForward Study Group,

Dr. Julia Tizard, Operations Manager for Virgin Galactic.

Mr. Ken Davidian, Encourage, Facilitate, and Promote Program Lead for FAA.

Dr. Patricia Hynes, Chair of ISPCS, Director for the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, NASA EPSCoR

Mr. Mark Butler, Program Manager for Virgin Galactic

Mr. Mark Sirangelo, Chairman of Sierra Nevada Space System and Vice President for Sierra Nevada Corporation.

Mr. Steve Landeene, Executive Director for the New Mexico Spaceport Authority (Spaceport America) and Chairman of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Col. Yvonne Cagle, the Program Manager for the Commercial Suborbital Research Program at NASA Ames Research Center.

ISPCS - to provide deep learning and to network
This year was a great success in terms of number of participant. Dr. Hynes reports attendance increased 30% over 2008, a strong signal of the interest in personal commercial spaceflight. The first symposium was held in 2005 just after the Ansari X PRIZE was awarded. ISPCS has evolved into the world's most important annual symposium focusing on personal and commercial spaceflight.

Dr. Patricia Hynes, chair of ISPCS, says "the milestone accomplished by Scaled Composites back in 2004 seems like a long time ago. Now space tourism is no longer the main driver catalyzing civilian commercial access to space. Today we also have companies investing in technologies to provide access to space for the scientific and engineering community. This is truly a growth industry!"

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