"Mein Traum ist, das Weltall für alle zu öffnen"

Sie ist die schwedische Antwort auf Richard Branson: Karin Nilsdotter leitet einen Weltraumbahnhof in Kiruna und will als Gründerin einer Raumfahrtlinie das nördlichste Städtchen Lapplands zum führenden europäischen Raumfahrtzentrum machen. Für die Astropreneurin ist der Weltraum "the next big thing" - ein Megathema für die Privatwirtschaft. Wer die Visionärin als Spinnerin abtut, dem fehlt Fantasie: Ihr Spaceport ist eine Initiative der schwedischen Regierung. Trotzdem weiß die Mathematikerin und Physikerin, dass sie viele Skeptiker überzeugen muss - insbesondere nach dem Unglück der Virgin Galactic-Maschine vor zehn Tagen. Verunsichert ist sie seitdem nicht: Sie kann ihren ersten Flug ins All kaum erwarten, wie sie im SAAL ZWEI-Interview - 10 Halbsätze und ihre Ergänzungen - auf Englisch sagt.
Berlin/Hamburg, den 12. November 2014 - Von Stefanie Bilen
Karin Nilsdotter (Foto: TED, Wolfram Scheible)

SAAL ZWEI: I am the founder of Space Travel Alliance, because…
Karin Nilsdotter: …I want to make the dream of space travel reality. That’s why I am CEO of Spaceport Sweden and co-founder of Space Travel Alliance (STA).
Our business model can be compared to the airline industry: With Spaceport Sweden we are establishing the site to fly from and with STA we seek to become a spaceline and share a lease of a spaceship and sell tickets and offer services, for instance for scientists, but also for the general audience. Already now we offer a northern light flights and we have established a northern light academy for people living and working around Kiruna in Sweden to give them a deeper knowledge about the northern light.

Earlier I thought I would…
actually be doing what I am trying to do right now: Make a difference and be part of changing the world. I have always dreamt about space – both to be able to experience it and now from a business perspective. I studied physics and math but also business and worked in the tourism industry for quite a while. For five years I have come closer to my dream and work in the space industry.

My biggest dream is…
to be making meaningful difference through my work and making space available for everyone. It doesn’t have to be a spaceflight – we offer space experiences on the ground, for instance in a simulator, a centrifuge or an interactive exhibition to get people excited about technology in space. Personally, I would love to experience space myself. I have done a lot of trainings so far and I hope to be on a spacecraft soon. If all goes well, we hope to start flying from Sweden within three to five years.

In der Rubrik Top-Managerin im Profil stellen wir den SAAL ZWEI-Leserinnen sowie der Leserschaft des Handelsblatt Morning Briefings erfolgreiche Frauen an der Spitze vor. Gabor Steingart, Herausgeber des Handelsblatts, fasst in seinem Morning Briefing täglich noch vor dem Frühstück relevante News aus Wirtschaft, Politik und Finanzen poinitiert zusammen. Gratis für den Leser.


In Kooperation mit




The recent accident of Space Ship Two from Virgin Galactic…
...puh... Space is hard and we have tragically been reminded of how challenging developing any new technology whether for space, air, rail, road or sea can be. Our goal and mission remain. We will continue to work with and lend our support to our friends in Mojave and the space industry. The pioneering work to open up the space frontier is one of the greatest endeavors of mankind and days like these define us. We will learn from this and move forward, united and stronger than ever. 

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, …
is an amazing visionary, an entrepreneur, who is focused and not afraid. His money is where his mouth is. He is developing a whole new spacecraft and revolutionizing the industry. 

Ein Teil des Interviews ist bereits gestern in Kooperation mit dem Handelsblatt Morning Briefing erschienen.

Currently the biggest challenges in my job…
are mental and cultural! We are creating a new industry where space is being democratized impacting on the market structure: Services and products, that have been planned and made available for governments, are now being commercialized. The private and the public sector need to work together to capitalize on the industry’s full potential. Like the technology, regulatory frameworks must be adapted to enable the industry to grow and to give the private sector business opportunities in a safe manner.
Furthermore it is a challenge to shape a business model and attracting funding – without limited or any track record. What we do has never been done before.
The third challenge – beneath culture and cash – is creativity. This is not a waiting game. We cannot sit and wait till the next spacecraft is ready. We try to be a catalyst for a whole ecosystem: Trying to inspire others to join the industry and develop –whether it’s flight suites, a space hotel, space inspired food or fashion.
Collaboration is the fourth challenge: Space industry is a borderless industry. We need to work across private companies, the public sector and academia; across country borders; and we work with our competitors, who are also our colleagues.

My role in the big picture…
is being an astropreneur. I am a catalyst, a change agent and a practical visionary. I have a vision of what positive impact this will have - not only for people in Sweden, but for humanity. To get it started, I need to be practical.

I start my day…
going the gym around 6 o’clock or starting work early.

When I talk about my job, people outside the industry react…

differently, but with curiosity. Space fascinates people in many different ways. More and more people realize that space is the next big thing. That it is no science fiction, but an industry, that is reality. With vast opportunities.
But of course it means change – and not everyone is ready for change. But I am prepared to work hard and to outpace the sceptics: I have done sports all my life – and in this perspective I see myself as business athlete. I know: To be good you need to do a lot of practice. You need to get up when you tumble, you need to have a good team. And you don’t run a marathon in a day.

The best advice I have ever got…
is "outpace the sceptics". 

Karin Nilsdotter studied math, physics as well as business. She lives in Kiruna, Sweden, and London, UK. For Space Travel Alliance Nilsdotter looks for investors. www.spacetravelalliance.com, www.spaceportsweden.com

Stefanie Bilen von SAAL ZWEI hat Karin Nilsdotter auf einer TED-Konferenz, organisiert von der Boston Consulting Group, Ende Oktober in Berlin getroffen. Für ihre Rede vom Traum der Menschheit, das Weltall zugänglich zu machen wie eine Insel im Meer, erhielt die Schwedin viel Zuspruch. 

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