Athens – Only days after the successful launch of the HSS Uranus, the Magistrate of Innovation and Economic Development has released an announcement that up to AΔ 50 Billion has been reserved for the development of Heraklion and Crete in general into the centre of Athenian space exploration. The island which already serves as the launch site for the Hellenic Space Agency and Hellenic Space Force will be converted into a full Space Port that can be the terrestrial home of Athens’ ambitious space agenda. The investment will bring with it a much needed investment in the island’s economy which has suffered in recent years due to a global reduction in tourism.
As part of the transformation, the island of Crete has been designated a location of Imperial Security interest and a seperate agreement has been signed between the Imperial Government and the Greek government on jurisdiction as well as day to day administration. While the territory remains part of the Union of Greece, facilities and the land surrounding them used by the Hellenic Space Force, Hellenic Space Agency and any other future Imperial branch of the armed forces or agency will be deemed under Imperial jurisdiction. The Union of Greece will remain able to collect taxes and Imperial employees or service members there will also need to pay Union taxes. Due to security concerns the airspace over Crete has been declared a maximum security zone. As a result flights within it are highly restricted and prohibited from entering within 20km of any major facility. A seperate agreement between the Hellenic Air Force and the Greek government has been made to establish corridors for civilian tourism flights to reduce the impact on conventional tourism towards the island.
In the announcement Silvia Renaldi, the Magistrate of Innovation and Economic Development, has called the project the greatest infrastructure endeavour in Athenian history. While many might be hesitant at the expected cost, she insists that the Heraklion Space Port will more than make up for itself within two years of its completion. Plans include the creation of a space tourism industry, transport of minerals and other materials from the asteroids and serving as a port to other countries less capable or willing to make such an investment. “Rotterdam, Singapore, Shanghai, Dubai. All of these cities became great on trade. As some of the largest ports they made a fortune in the past two centuries on trade. Humanity faces a great reset, a reset that will allow new countries to take the spotlight. Like the Earth ports before it, Heraklion will shine.” she concluded her statement.
While the development has been lauded in Athens and Nafplio, many in Crete are hesitant to embrace it. As large segments of the local population harbour distrust towards the government, many fear the promises are mostly empty. Additionally, many business owners in the tourism industry fear that the increased military presence will scare off tourists resulting in even lower tourist income. The project in itself is an ambitious challenge, but convincing the people of Crete that their government has their back might be an even greater, if not insurmountable, challenge.