The sky is not the limit!
Something is changing. Over the past 50 years, space has never been more attractive than today.
The reason behind this development is a new kind of re-usable space planes, which will not only take people into space, but also reduce the costs of all space-related research and development. This will drive development in a vast array of critical research areas such as e.g. materials- and environmental technology. The company Spaceport Sweden has for several years worked on the establishment of a spaceport for manned astronautics in Sweden, and sees great business potential in the current development. Yet, even though the nation has had a long history (60 years!) as a leading European space nation, the commercialization of astronautic research has not yet come very far.
CEO Karin Nilsdotter contacted Kairos Future for deeper insight into the potential for space tourism in Sweden. She additionally sought support in spreading information about the potential of space to key individuals in business, the public sector, and academia, and develop a national strategy for the future.
Within the boundaries of a innovation program from Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, and under the guidance of Kairos Future, around a hundred key persons from areas related to space and tourism in fields such as research, business, business development, innovation, environmental issues, et cetera, were gathered in various forums to develop a national strategy for space tourism in Sweden. With the aid of Kairos Futures’ tool for collaborative innovation – Co:tunity – business environment intelligence, reconnaissance, ideas and thoughts were exchanged between stakeholders across all of Sweden as well as internationally. During physical meetings in person at Kairos Futures’ central office in Stockholm, there were opportunities for intense strategic discussions and brainstorming around the subject, which shows great potential for growth.
“Space tourism is a highly technological and innovative industry that touches upon several fields that in everyday life have very few natural contact points, space, tourism, aviation, academia and public sector. That is why the strategy process with Kairos Future was incredibly valuable in uniting people and their skills, and structuring their knowledge and thoughts about the future, says Karin Nilsdotter. “Under the professional guidance of Kairos Future we could structure analysis, knowledge and create a strong knowledge platform, a vision and national strategy for this subject, which is new to Sweden. Kairos team also calculated the future potential in terms of revenue and jobs, essential figures when taking Sweden towards a leading position in the world.”
What did the strategy group conclude? Manned astronautics and space tourism contribute to ground breaking innovations, applied cutting edge research and increased export. They make space visible and appealing, thus raising awareness of and interest in technology and science. At the same time, the commercial activity creates opportunities for science-related activity, which in turn can be shown and illustrated to the public in various tourism centers. The spaceports in themselves become attractive points of interest, especially if they become the central points of more economically available attractions ranging from experience centers and wind tunnel flights on the ground, to flights through the aurora borealis and other experiences in the air. The costs of the spaceflights themselves are predicted to sink to a level where they will eventually become available for an increasing demographic to experience for themselves.
The hope for the future, and the idea behind the project, is that two sectors will profit off of collaboration; the relatively large hospitality industry, and the much smaller but more high-technological astronautics industry. Additionally, the goal is for space research and innovation to inject energy into other sectors, such as telecom, environment, textile industry, and in the long term attract excellence from the entire world. The prospects for expanding space tourism in Sweden are very good, and such an investment would bring an already successful hospitality industry even greater attractiveness, as well as strengthen Sweden as a player in the field of space.
The national strategy “Destination Space” shows the future potential and recommends strategic measures to make Sweden a leading space tourism country, with its own spaceport for manned astronautics. It is released to the public in mid-September.
For more information about this project, please contact project leader Johanna Danielsson, firstname.lastname@example.org.