El Centro de Experimentacion y Lanzamiento de Proyectiles Autopropulsados at El Chamical

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Last Updated: October 1, 2006
Other Name: CELPA, El Chamical, Chamical
Location: in the town of El Chamical in the Province of La Rioja, Argentina
Subordinate To: Air Force
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: The site is currently used by the Argentine Air Force and Army to test anti-aircraft weaponry

The airbase at Chamical began operation as a rocket launch site in 1962, and supported launch of rockets of a distance of up to 200km. It has the advantage of being located near salt flats, which can absorb the impact of launched rockets. In 1969, Argentina collaborated with NASA to launch Nike-Cajun and Nike-Apache rockets, which carried payloads constructed by the IIAE. Chamical was the site of the maiden flights of the Gamma Centaure, Proson, Orion II, Rigel, and Canopus rockets.

In 1987, President Alfonsín attended a launching of the Alacrán short-range missile from Chamical. On 5 July 1989, President Menem visited Chamical with brigadier generals Ernesto Crespo and José Juliá to witness another test launch. The Cóndor II’s motors were tested at Chamical.

[1] César Docampo, Desarrollo de vectores espaciales y tecnología misilística en Argentina: el Cóndor II (Buenos Aires: EURAL, 1993), p. 10.
[2] Eduardo Barcelona and Julio Villalonga, Relaciones carnales: la verdadera historia de la construcción y destrucción del misil Cóndor II (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1992), p. 35.
[3] Miguel Sanchez, "Sounding Rockets in Argentina," in Space Research in Argentina, (Buenos Aires: National Commission on Space Research, 1969), pp. 7-8.
[4] Vann Van Diepen, "intelligence document," secret, date not known but circa 1992; translated and published in Martin Granovsky, Misión cumplida: La presión norteamericana sobre la Argentina, de Braden a Todman, (Buenos Aires: Planeta, 1992), p. 343.
[5] Jane's Strategic Weapons 36, "Offensive Weapons, Argentina – Alacran," 12 July 2001, http://online.janes.com.

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