The Canary Islands are a firm candidate to have HQ of the Spanish Space Agency
The Canary Islands have joined the list of candidates to host the future headquarters of the Spanish Space Agency, something which, overnight, has become a contest of merit between different regions and cities in the country. At first it seemed like it was going to be a fight between the only two officially announced candidates (Teruel and Seville), but now there are more applicants.
The last candidate to join the list was the Canary Islands, meaning there are five Spanish regions that want to host the ‘Spanish NASA’ in their territory, as Castilla y León (with two proposals) and Castilla-La Mancha have also applied.
In addition to these, there are two proposals from Madrid who have proposed Tres Cantos as a possible headquarters for the Agency, as has Robledo de Chavela, a small town in Madrid located in the vicinity of the Communications Complex that NASA already has in the region.
However, the problem for Madrid is that the Government has practically decided that this agency will be a decentralized service, which is why other regions have put themselves forward as candidates.
The Canary Islands are the latest to ride this wave of interest, with the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, saying: “We want to compete. We know that it will not be easy, but what is sought is achieved.”
However, there are several factors that favour the Canary Islands including their location, which is at the same latitude as Cape Canaveral in Florida, and their relationship with the European Space Agency (ESA), which will install a ‘stratoport’ in Fuerteventura.
Proposed Stratoport to be built in Fuerteventura
A stratoport is a defined area for the integration, testing, and operation (takeoff, landing, certification, trials, maintenance, and loading of applications, etc) of high-altitude pseudo-satellite platforms and UAV4’s (Unmanaged Aircreat Vehicles).
In March 2019, the Letter of Intent was formalized between the ESA and the Technology Park of Fuerteventura with the aim of developing the program of observation, innovation and intelligent management of the Canarias Geo Innovation 2030 environment, and the implementation of a Stratoport for High Altitude PseudoSatellites (HAPS) in the Canary Islands.
THE OTHER CANDIDATES:
The Canary Islands will have to compete with Teruel, located in the east of Spain, which bases its proposal on its airport which has hosted space tests and launches before for the Centre for Cosmos Physics Studies (CEFCA).
There is also a proposal from Seville, which already has a powerful aerospace industry with more 2 billion euros in turnover, more than 12,000 direct jobs, more than 140 companies, and a contribution of 1.41% to the Andalusian GDP, to which should be added the only technology park dedicated exclusively to the sector.
Castilla y León have presented two proposals, one in the province of León, where the European Space Agency is going to locate an incubator for space projects which could complement the hypothetical headquarters of the Spanish Space Agency, and the other, in the small municipality of Cebreros (Ávila), located next to the aforementioned NASA facilities.
Lastly, there is a proposal from Puertollano (Castilla-La Mancha), which also has specialized companies within the sector, such as Elecnor-Deimos who are designing a prototype space vehicle.