Space center threatened by mining
Esrange space centre near Kiruna in northern Sweden doesn’t want miners walking around in the area where rockets fell back to earth from an altitude of 250 kilometer.
Mining is booming and creating thousands of new jobs in the Barents region, but not everyone is happy. Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) depends on large areas with as little human activity as possible. Today, they have that northeast of Kiruna where the rocket impact area covers a total of 5,600 km2.
There are Sami reindeer herders in the area, but the space center and the herders have a peaceful coexistence. The Sami are always notified before a rocket is launched and can take precautions.
The miners with trucks and bulldozers are something else than reindeer herders. SSC warns that their entire existence is threatened as foreign mining companies are knocking on the door to the territory.
In a classified warning sent to the Ministry of Finance, SSC writes: “The rocket range and Esrange’s strategic position is based on the fact that the range is free from other activities with exception of the reindeer herders,” SVT reports.
“We cannot combine our security needs with mining activity in the zone,” says Lennart Poromaa, President in SSC’s Science Service.
“The area is large, but our rockets fly high and it happens that rocket parts fell down from an altitude of up to 250 kilometers and it is therefore not easy to say exactly where they will hit,” Lennart Poromaa says interviewed by SVT.
One foreign mining company has according to SSC shown interest to start prospecting activities inside the catchment zone of the space center.