Sweden at the Back of the Space Queue
Less than three weeks before he is scheduled to launch on the shuttle Discovery, Sweden’s first astronaut has criticised the Swedish authorities for delaying this country’s manned debut in space.
Christer Fuglesang was named as a European Space Agency astronaut 14 years ago, and was the first person to qualify for both the Russian and American space programs. Yet, he says, other countries have seen their astronauts get into space faster, because Sweden failed to put on more pressure or invest more money.
The Director General of the Swedish National Space Board has admitted that some other countries, like France, Germany, and the Netherlands, have paid Russia around 15 million dollars each so their astronauts could jump the queue and go into space sooner.