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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

How Sweden Became A Space & Drone Nation

Sweden´s space pioneer hanging in the ceiling of the Vidsel museum.

Some of the most amazing museums are those that are generally not open. Such is the status of the museum of the Vidsel Test Range in Swedish Lapland. This test range is a Swedish strategic national test and evaluation asset. The museum tells the little known stories of how Sweden became a space and drone nation.

Thanks to Mr. X I recently got the opportunity to visit a museum few outside of the aerospace industry get to visit, the Vidsel Test Range Museum. It is probably the only place in the world reminding about the first Swedish rocket launch into space. The rocket in question was a US-made Arcas rocket launched from a place called Nausta, in 1961 - i.e. 55 years ago. Not that much has been written about the launch since then and the nickname it got at the time is just about forgotten now: "Plutnik". Aside from the similarity with Sputnik the name indicates something small and cute.

The Vidsel Test Range Museum preserves many unique machines but sadly I was in a hurry and therefore can only present one more - but it is a milestone: Sweden´s first drone, the target drone RB01 Jindivik. I think the year of its first Swedish flight may surprise you, 1959. Also, few will guess the manufacturer: the Australian Government Aircraft Factories (GAF).

Sweden´s first drone and yours truly.

Yes, those are reindeer and I am not sure what they signify.

Thank you, folks, for letting me in, and the photo permit. For more photos from the museum, visit this Vidsel website (in Swedish).

Want some more little-known Swedish history? Then how about how many German aircraft the Swedish Armed Forces shot down just in 1940, or how more Swedish citizens have died for jihad than for Hitler.

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