Esrange is an international sounding rocket and balloon launch facility located 45 kilometers east of the town of Kiruna in northern Sweden (67.9° N, 21.1° E) and operated by the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC). It covers an area of 20 square kilometers and consists of several facilities: the main building; the Esrange satellite station; rocket launching areas; balloon launching area; KEOPS – Kiruna Esrange Optical Platform System; and Esrad – mesosphere, stratosphere, and troposphere radar.
The range was inaugurated in 1966 following a decision by ESRO, of which Sweden was a member, to create a launch site for sounding rockets here. In 1972, following a reorientation of ESRO activities, Esrange moved under Swedish government authority and SSC put in charge of managing the facility. Currently, Esrange includes seven permanent pads able to launch most types of sounding rockets, including large vehicles such as Black Brant 9 or Skylark 12, and even Castor 4B used for the MAXUS experiments.