Puerto Rico Hopes to Join the Space Race – The Weekly Journal

§ March 10th, 2021 § Filed under Nanotechnology Journal Comments Off on Puerto Rico Hopes to Join the Space Race – The Weekly Journal

The island already has a healthy and robust aerospace industry and now wants an even bigger slice of the space-race sector.

The Puerto Rico Ports Authority has released a request for information (RFI) for companies that may be interested in developing a space port at the Jos Aponte de la Torre (JAT) regional airport in Ceiba, located just a few miles from the former Roosevelt Roads Naval Station, which the central government has been trying to fully develop for years.

The JAT property is truly a unique and rare resource, having been isolated from normal redevelopment trends since the early part of the last century and situated at the foothills of El Yunque National Rainforest one of the worlds greatest natural wonders. Its location at the eastern tip of Puerto Rico, centrally situated between the continents of North and South America and with viable trajectories to a large range of desirable low-earth orbit launch inclinations make the location highly desirable for satellite operators to use to place their satellites into orbit, said Ports in its RFI.

The government is seeking input for JAT to be an option for experts and innovative members of the aerospace industry to consider rental space for manufacture, storage, processing or any other aerospace-related activities and how their operations can be considered to be located in Puerto Rico.

The JAT airport currently offers scheduled passenger service via three commercial airlines to the islands of Vieques and Culebra. The airport covers an area of 1,646 acres at an elevation of 38 feet above mean sea level. The facility has one operating runway and a closed runway.

Recent studies, analyses and waivers show significant potential economic benefit through the development of a potential commercial space launch facility. The geographic location and configuration of JAT as a commercial launch site offers a significant range of safe launch inclinations from polar and sun synchronous orbit to equatorial orbits for three launch vehicle types that take off and land horizontally, according to the RFI.

Interested companies have until May 26 to submit their responses.

If the envisioned project is successful, it could help jumpstart the local economy in Ceiba, since Roosevelt Roads was closed in 2008.

The aerospace industry is one of the economic sectors that is experiencing the fastest growth. In fact, in the midst of the pandemic, it was one of the few sectors that did not receive much impact, said Joel A. Piz Batiz, executive director of the Ports Authority.

What we did was an RFI, a Request for Information, which is to knock on the doors of all aerospace companies, both launch, manufacturing and satellite, and let them know that Puerto Rico has these conditions There is a great opportunity for economic development for our youth and the island in the space market, he added.

The Aerospace Industry in Puerto Rico

The island has long been a magnet for the aerospace industry. Some of the aerospace companies with facilities in Puerto Ricomany of them concentrated in the northwest region of the islandinclude Honeywell Aerospace, Collins Aerospace, Pratt and Whitney, Lufthansa Technik, Lockheed Martin, DXC Technologies, El-COM Systems, OPTI Manufacturing, Global Tek Manufacturing, CNC 2000, Multi-Axis Manufacturing and Jet Aviation San Juan FBO.

The aerospace ecosystem is also complemented by a number of educational, scientific and research institutions such as the University of Puerto Ricos (UPR) Nanotechnology Laboratory; Inter American Universitys Aviation School; the Aeronautical and Aerospace Institute of Puerto Rico (a subsidiary of the UPRs Aguadilla Campus); and various related programs at the Polytechnic University, Sistema Ana G. Mndez and Caribbean University. UPR Mayagezs engineering program also offers a pipeline of trained professionals to many companies in the aerospace-related industry.

Sadly, the famous Arecibo telescopes 900-ton receiver platform and the Gregorian dome collapsed last year. The National Science Foundation said that it could cost up to $50 million just to clean up the debris at a renowned radio telescope that collapsed last year in Puerto Rico, adding that investigations into what caused its cables to fail are still ongoing.

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Puerto Rico Hopes to Join the Space Race - The Weekly Journal

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