Kiruna is the northernmost town in Sweden, situated in the province of Lapland. The city's vicinity shares a rich history with the indigenous Sami people, with evidence of at least 6000 years of settlement. The city of Kiruna was founded in 1900 and quickly became a major centre of iron ore extraction and mining industry. Due to Kiruna's position north of the Arctic Circle the city experiences both midnight sun and polar night throughout the year as well as a very cold climate by Scandinavian standards.
Esrange Space Center was established in Kiruna in the 1960s. Also in Kiruna are the Institute of Space Physics and the Department of Space Science belonging to Luleå University of Technology.