Naval Station Roosevelt Roads in 1997

Virgin Galactic has purchased 11 hangars at the former Roosevelt Roads naval station in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, according to Caribbean Business.

The Caribbean Business article is short on details. Caribbean Business quotes anonymous sources and states that Virgin Galactic has not provided any details. The article states that Virgin Galactic “plans to develop a launch pad for commercial spacecraft and satellites in Ceiba,” which is almost certainly wrong since there is no evidence that Virgin is developing a vertical ground-launch system.

[Update 1 (March 9): A report by the press agency EFE quotes Alberto Baco Bagu, Puerto Rico’s Secretary of Economic Development and Trade, saying that no deal has been reached with Virgin Galactic.]

[Update 2 (March 10): Virgin Galactic says there is “no truth” to reports that it has purchased or leased land/hangars in Puerto Rico.]

Virgin Galactic could base its air-launched Launcher One at Ceiba, however. The 11,000-foot runway would easily accommodate the White Knight Two launch aircraft. Virgin Galactic could potential offer SpaceShip Two flights from there as well.

A Carribean site would provide an useful base for eastward satellite launches, and Puerto Rico is US territory, which eliminates any ITAR problems. Puerto Rico is also a popular tourist destination, which might be attractive for some of Virgin’s suborbital customers.

SpaceX has also been considering Roosevelt Roads as a possible commercial launch site, although it appears to favor the Brownsville, Texas area at present.

Written by Astro1 on March 9th, 2014 , Spaceports, Virgin Galactic

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