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Dominican Republic Explores Feasibility of Commercial Spaceport

The Dominican Republic has embarked on a significant endeavor to assess the viability of establishing a commercial spaceport near the equator.

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Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Thu May 23 2024Written by Zac Aubert

The Dominican Republic has embarked on a significant endeavor to assess the viability of establishing a commercial spaceport near the equator.

The study, initiated on May 22, will be led by Florida-based Launch on Demand, a specialist in launch licensing and technical services.

The contract for this six-month feasibility study was awarded by the National Intelligence Directorate (DNI), the newly restructured national security entity of the Dominican Republic.

The study will focus on the Oviedo area in the southern part of the island nation. Key aspects of the study will include flight corridor analysis, climatology assessment, physical security evaluation, and an examination of the impacts on airspace and maritime operations, as well as frequency deconfliction.

“Like many other countries, the Dominican Republic views access to space from its sovereign territory as a national security imperative,” - Burton Catledge, Launch on Demand CEO

The feasibility study will delve into the potential for both orbital and suborbital missions; a capability the could significantly enhance the country's satellite monitoring and surveillance capacities, crucial for tackling issues such as illegal migration, drug trafficking, and environmental degradation.

The agreement between Launch On Demand and the DNI will focus on near-term national security concerns but will be able to rapidly expand to support the commercial space industry in Latin America

“Cape Canaveral and Kennedy Space Center are running out of capacity and launch companies are looking for a cost-effective and safe location that provides near-equatorial access to space.” - Burton Catledge, Launch on Demand CEO

Prior to founding Launch on Demand in 2018, Catledge served as the operations group commander for the Air Force’s 45th Space Wing, which oversees Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the Eastern Range.

Establishing domestic spaceports not only raises a country's profile but also reduces dependence on foreign nations. Should the Dominican Republic open a spaceports it could also help countries insulate sensitive missions from external surveillance via international partnerships similar to Peru’s collaboration with the United States to counter Chinese influence as an example.

There are 31 proposed spaceports worldwide and approximately 56 sites capable of handling suborbital and/or orbital missions.

Launch on Demand is currently conducting similar feasibility studies for three other clients: two in Arizona and another with plans for a spaceport outside the United States.

As the Dominican Republic advances with this study, it positions itself as a potential new hub for space launches, promising to enhance both its national security and commercial aerospace capabilities.