27 September 2013

Curacao plans for space travel in 2014

Commercial space travel could come to Curacao as early as 2014. Curacao Airport Holding managing director Maurice Adriaens announced the projected launch date for the ambitious project, during his presentation at the Caribbean ICT Roadshow, which took place at the Curacao World Trade Centre from September 9-10. The island of Curacao is tipped to host SXC’s second launchpad, the first being located in an Air and Space Port in the Mojave desert, United States. Spaceflight participants will be launched from the Curacao spaceport into suborbital space above the surface of the Earth and then safely looped back to Earth, according to an online promotional video on the Space Expedition Corporation (SXC) official Web site.

Addressing a multi-stakeholder audience on the second day of the Roadshow, Adriaens’ presentation highlighted the downstream economic benefits that would flow from the development of an indigenous commercial human spaceflight industry. The prospect of transitioning the island’s economy from traditional tourism to space tourism generated great interest in the room and amongst the foreigners represented at the regional gathering. “It’s a good dream, isn’t it?” he asked. “So…who wants to be a Curanaut?”

Adriaens was among a number of local and international presenters from a range of backgrounds demonstrated the potential of ICT to impact e-health, e-learning, e-commerce, cyber security, telecommunication, and youth. The spaceflight presentation was part of the CTU’s emphasis on technological innovation as an engine for Caribbean development. Organised by the Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU), the Caribbean ICT Roadshow is now into its third year, having visited 17 countries across the region. According to CTU secretary general Bernadette Lewis, the programme is “designed to foster a spirit of innovation in the adoption of ICT-based practical solutions to development challenges”.