Space race in the Caribbean heats up

SXC was founded in 2008 to offer suborbital space tourism flights and scientific research missions from the Caribbean island of Curacao in the next two years.

However, on Tuesday, Bermuda’s Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy, Walter Roban, announced that his government was seeking to reform their investment climate in order to also establish Bermuda as an attractive, tax-efficient territory in which to base space operations.

“I am determined to build on the comparative advantage we have built for ourselves over the years. We have the know-how, the enterprise culture, the infrastructure, the regulatory framework, and the orbital real-estate. It’s not hard to see why we should pursue this.”

The government is expected to publish a blueprint on how it will develop a conducive environment for the industry imminently. In the meantime, the government has engaged with industry leaders in the UK and in Paris to drum up interest from companies in establishing operations on the island.

In the meantime, SXC, which intends to lead the world in providing commercial space launch facilities and suborbital flight services from its Space Port Curacao, said its goal was to sell 50 spaceflights before the holiday season.

“A number of celebrities and notables have already signed up for this amazing experience, including Victoria’s Secret model Doutzen Kroes , World Series Champion San Francisco Giants batting coach and Curacao native Hensley Meulens, and celebrity DJ Armin van Buuren, host of the weekly radio show ‘A State of Trance,’ which attracts a reported 30 million listeners in 40 countries.  It’s not hard to get people excited about what will be a life changing event,” said SXC co-founder Michiel Mol.

Through the new multi-million dollar transaction, SXC has secured the wet lease of production Lynx tail number two for operation on Curacao, pending export licensing action. Mol said: “The Lynx is unique in that it provides a one-on-one ‘co-pilot’ experience with an amazing panoramic view of the Earth and sky through large cockpit windows.  It will be an unforgettable and very personalized experience for everyone who takes the trip.”

SXC also has a number of business channel partners lined up including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. KLM will purchase flights to offer as frequent flyer rewards, support educational initiatives in the Netherlands through the use of flights for scientific discovery by students, and include flights as part of vacation packages to Curacao, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“We’ve been working hard on the infrastructure end of things as well,” commented Ben Droste, president and co-founder of SXC. “Our relationship with Curacao Airport Holdings continues to be strong as they ready the facilities necessary to make this vision a reality.  Things are now moving at an accelerated pace.”

Andrew Nelson, Chief Operating Officer of XCOR Aerospace concluded by saying, “XCOR continues to work with the US State Department, Commerce Department and other relevant US agencies regarding the export licensing framework for the wet lease of our suborbital vehicle.  XCOR takes a very pro-active role in engaging relevant government officials and agencies in advance to help facilitate the regulatory level of certainty we need to carry out business around the globe while creating high paying jobs here at home so we may help revitalize the moribund aerospace manufacturing base in the US.  The wet lease model should allow us to address these issues and ensure America’s technology leadership in space continues in the best interests of our citizens, nation, and the men and women serving our country around the world.”

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