Archival collection for Sweden’s space history

Project Description

Today’s knowledge about environmental change relies on a vast infrastructure for collecting and processing data of environmental phenomena on and across Earth’s surface. By comparing these data to older data, one can attain knowledge of changes in these environments. It is through space technologies such as satellite remote sensing that environmental change has been possible to conduct on a global scale since mid-1900s onwards. In many regards, satellite data has become synonymous with the environment, and comparisons of data over time is assumed to reveal changes in environment. At the same time, history about these data and their technologies is still very limited. 

Previous research on space technology suggests that only by combining different source materials – oral and written from private collections – is it possible to provide a more complete image of why space technology developed to serve environmental purposes. The archival collection enables historical studies of how agriculture, urban planning, and crisis management across large geographies came to rely on space technology. In addition, the material can be of relevance to studies regarding Swedish geopolitics, international relations and larger societal trends during the late 1900s. In particular, this material is indicative of transnational connections and collaborations between Swedish experts and other parts of the world, which is a precondition for understanding the globalisation of Sweden during the late 1900s.

French engineers mounting a Skylark-rocket at ESRANGE, 1960s..
French engineers mounting a Skylark-rocket at ESRANGE, 1960s. © Sven Grahn Private Collection.

Swedish space experts at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, 1960s.
Swedish space experts at NASA’s White Sands Test Facility, 1960s. © NASA Headquarters Archive.

About the Project

Project Duration

2022–2024

Funding

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

Researcher
Last modified: 2022-12-29