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Sweden Aims to Overhaul Space Law as Orbital Launches from Esrange Loom

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
November 28, 2021
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MAXUS 9 launched at Esrange Space Center. (Credit: SSC)

STOCKHOLM, November 23, 2021 (Swedish Government PR) — Today, the Space Act Inquiry has submitted its report A new space law to Matilda Ernkrans, Minister with responsibility for space issues. The inquiry proposes a new space law that takes into account international regulations, promotes Swedish space operations and ensures national security needs.

The commission’s task has been to review space legislation. Space operations have previously been characterized by the fact that they were conducted by a few states and major state actors, but the operations are undergoing strong change. Technological developments have led to the addition of new space nations and to an increase in private investment. A space legislation will strengthen Swedish research and development in the area. At the same time, the development of international security and defense policy, together with the development of the infrastructure at the Esrange space base, means that it is important to ensure that Swedish space legislation meets the existing protection needs.

The inquiry proposes, among other things, that:

  • A new space law will be introduced. The law shall, like the current law, be called the law on space activities and supplemented by an ordinance. The purpose of the new law will be to promote Swedish space activities in order to strengthen research, development and the industry’s innovation and competitiveness, as well as to meet society’s need for space-related knowledge and technology. The purpose of the law shall also be to ensure Sweden’s security and other foreign, security and defense policy interests.
  • Both state and private space activities must be subject to a permit. The Government shall be allowed to prescribe exemptions from the permit requirement for space activities conducted by the Swedish state. Authorities belonging to the Ministry of Defense are proposed to be granted an exemption.
  • The Swedish Space Agency shall consider questions about permits and the authority shall in each individual permit matter consult with the Armed Forces, the Security Police and the Inspectorate for Strategic Products in matters concerning Sweden’s security or other foreign, security or defense policy interests.
  • The Swedish Space Agency shall keep a national register of space objects.
  • An environmental provision must be introduced in the Space Act in order for space activities to be conducted in a way that is sustainable in the long term for the environment and the use of space.

The new regulation also aims to ensure Sweden’s security and other foreign, security and defense policy interests in the space area, among other things by the licensing authority – the Swedish Space Agency – consulting with the Security Police, the Armed Forces and the Inspectorate for strategic products in each individual licensing matter.

“Through the new space law, Sweden gets a modern and long-term sustainable regulation of space activities that creates predictability and good conditions for business and research, but which also ensures protection for Sweden’s security in space,” says special investigator Göran Lundahl.

The report in its entirety with all proposals is available on the government’s website: A new space law, SOU 2021: 91

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