Former Puerto Rico Navy Base a Possible Launch Pad for Space Flights


A former U.S. navy base in eastern Puerto Rico could be the place where Virgin Galactic chooses to build a launch pad for future commercial space flights, an option being considered that neither party denies, The Latin American Herald Tribune reports.

This week’s publication of an article in the daily Caribbean Business saying that the owner of Virgin Galactic, British entrepreneur Richard Branson, has acquired 11 hangars at the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, on the eastern end of the U.S. commonwealth, was what sparked the rumors and conjectures.

Built in 1944 at the town of Ceiba, the base was used by the U.S. Navy from 1957 to 2003. At present the land is occupied by a small airport for flights connecting with two small nearby islands, Culebra and Vieques, which also belong to Puerto Rico.

The secretary of the Economic Development and Trade Department of Puerto Rico, Alberto Baco Bague, denied to Efe on Friday that any deal had been closed with the British multimillionaire’s company, while representatives of Virgin Galactic also refused to confirm the rumors.

The fact that Puerto Rico is considered in many respects U.S. territory and is located at a low latitude – around 18 degrees north – are both significant attractions for aerospace companies.

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