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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Puerto Rico to participate in national Space Symposium for first time


Members of the Puerto Rico Aerospace and Aeronautics Industry Council, some of whom will represent the island at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado in April.

By The Star Staff


Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz, who is also president of the Puerto Rico Aerospace and Aeronautics Industry Council (CAAI by its Spanish initials), announced Thursday during the CAAI’s third working session the publication of a request for proposals (RFP) for a spaceport operator at Ceiba airport, the launch of the CAAI website, and the participation, for the first time, of a delegation from Puerto Rico at the Space Symposium in Colorado.


At the CAAI’s third meeting, which Pizá Batiz described as successful, participants also laid out work plans for the next three months. Among them is the RFP process for a spaceport operator at José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba. It is expected that sometime next summer or early fall the Federal Aviation Administration will grant the government of Puerto Rico the spaceport license. Pizá Batiz noted that in June 2022 the contract was filed with RS&H, a firm specialized in airport infrastructure consulting that worked on the design of the Spaceport Launch Facilities-NASA in Florida, to convert the Ceiba airport into a spaceport.


“The Ceiba spaceport project is a long-term one that seeks to sow the seeds of what will be a thriving industry for Ceiba and all of Puerto Rico in a few years,” Pizá Batiz said. “We are extremely satisfied with the progress of the work plan of this council, considering that it is a novel issue for the government of Puerto Rico. In just 10 months … we have been able to build a strategic work structure in an area of such potential worldwide.”


Regarding the launch of the CAAI website, Pizá Batiz thanked Office of Innovation and Technology Services Executive Director Nannette Martínez Ortiz and her work team for their collaboration in the creation of the page that addresses the CAAI’s main strategic issues. Among other objectives, the page aims to promote the initiatives of the CAAI, provide an opportunity for the development and investment of the aerospace and aeronautical industry in Puerto Rico and expose the potential of the island to the world, both in its commercial field and its educational institutions.


Regarding the island’s participation in the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado in April, Pizá Batiz said it is significant for the purposes of the CAAI since symposium attendees systematically represent all sectors of the international space community. They include space agencies; commercial enterprises and associated subcontractors; military, national security and intelligence organizations; cybersecurity organizations; federal and state government agencies; research and development facilities; educational institutions; private providers of commercial space exploration and travel; space commerce companies engaged in the adaptation, manufacture or sale of space technologies for commercial use; and media that inspire and educate the general public on the subject.


Pizá Batiz also pointed out that in 2021 the United States government recognized the impact of the aerospace industry on job creation, national security and as a tool to combat climate change. That recognition gave way to initiatives to establish public policy, reconcile efforts, educate and advance opportunities for economic development in the industry so it was expected that, in the near future, it will become one of the largest in the world.


Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia created the CAAI in April 2022 in recognition of the potential of the aerospace industry worldwide and, particularly, in Puerto Rico due to its privileged geographical location, the extant infrastructure necessary for the development of the aerospace industry, and various incentive programs to attract this type of industry.

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