Spaceport Camden

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Spaceport Camden
Summary
LocationWoodbine, Georgia
Coordinates30°55′39″N 81°30′53″W / 30.92750°N 81.51472°W / 30.92750; -81.51472
Websitespaceportcamden.us

Spaceport Camden is a licensed spaceport in Camden County, Georgia, near the city of Woodbine. The site tested the largest solid rocket motor ever fired as part of the Apollo Program and Camden County, Georgia was originally considered as a NASA launch site in the 1960s. Spaceport Camden began limited development as a rocket launch facility in early 2014, with its first launch taking place in August 2017, reaching 5,000 ft (1,524 m).

History[edit]

During the early 1960s, Camden County in Georgia was considered by NASA as a potential launch site for the Apollo program.[1] A site on Merritt Island, Florida, near the existing Cape Canaveral launch pads, was selected instead;[2] however some rocket testing for the Apollo program took place on the Georgia site.[3]

In November 2012, the Camden County Joint Development Authority voted unanimously to "explore developing an aero-spaceport facility" at an Atlantic coastal site to support both horizontal and vertical launch operations, in hopes of attracting a SpaceX launch facility.[4] SpaceX selected a location near Brownsville, Texas for its launch site.[5] However, in June 2015 the county authorized environmental studies, purchasing a former industrial location used by Bayer CropScience and solid rocket motor manufacturer Thiokol to pursue the development of a spaceport.[2][6] At the time, it was believed that the site, comprising 400 acres (160 ha),[7] could see launches begin by 2020.[2]

In March 2017, despite opposition from Cumberland Island residents concerned about disturbance to Cumberland Island National Seashore and the possibility of injuries and damage from launches,[3] and belief that the Federal Aviation Administration was unlikely to authorize launches due to the fact that launch trajectories would pass over inhabited areas,[8] the Georgia General Assembly approved legislation offering limited liability protection against spaceflight participant injury claims related to launches from the proposed spaceport,[9] and in May Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 1.[10] A 2017 study by Georgia Southern University determined that the spaceport could provide $22.5 million in yearly revenue to the region.[11]

In March 2018, the FAA, the US regulatory agency for spaceports, approved the "draft status" of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the spaceport.[12] On 20 December 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a launch site operator license for Spaceport Camden with a flight trajectory limited to a 100-degree azimuth.[13][14]

In March 2022, the project was rejected by Camden county voters in a referendum.[15] Despite this, county representatives nonetheless attempted to move forward with the acquisition of the property while executing numerous legal maneuvers to invalidate the referendum, including an appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court on whether the voters had any right to override the county's decisions under the state constitution's Home Rule.

In February 2023, the court unanimously agreed that the constitution allows the electorate to amend or repeal ordinances, resolutions, or regulations, and that the referendum was subsequently valid and enforceable.[16]

Facilities and operations[edit]

External image
image icon The Vector-R is launched at Spaceport Camden.[17]

The planned facilities at Spaceport Camden include a vertical launch site and a control center, with provision for viewing facilities.[3] Up to twelve launches and twelve landings a year would be permitted.[3] The construction of an innovation and research park at the spaceport has been proposed to attract additional technology-based industry and create jobs.[18]

In April 2017, Vector Space Systems announced that they would use the Spaceport Camden site to conduct a suborbital rocket test that summer.[19] On 2 August 2017, the first launch from Spaceport Camden, of a Vector-R rocket, successfully took place.[20]

In 2018, ABL Space Systems signed a lease with Camden County, Georgia for future operations in Spaceport Camden.[21]

On 20 December 2021, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an operator license for Spaceport Camden.[22][23]

Launch history[edit]

Launch Date (UTC) Vehicle Payload Launch pad Result Remarks
1 2 August 2017, 16:15 Vector-R Two customer payloads; imaging and medicinal research Harriett's Bluff Road Success Suborbital flight; launch took place from a trailer; the peak altitude was about 5,000 ft (1,524 m).[24][25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dilsaver, Lary M. (2004). Cumberland Island National Seashore: A History of Conservation Conflict. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press. p. 63. ISBN 0-8139-2268-2. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Chapman, Dan (30 July 2015). "Camden County sky high on spaceport plan, but others want it grounded". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Landers, Mary (25 February 2017). "Camden spaceport promises jobs, threatens islands". Savannah Morning News. Savannah, GA. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  4. ^ Dickson, Terry (16 November 2012). "Camden County wants to open Georgia's first spaceport". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  5. ^ Berger, Eric (4 August 2014). "Texas, SpaceX announce spaceport deal near Brownsville". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  6. ^ "FAA moving forward on proposed spaceport". The Brunswick News. Brunswick, GA. 9 November 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  7. ^ Karkaria, Urvaksh; Dave Williams (31 July 2017). "Go for launch: Rocket receives approval for Georgia's first commercial spaceport". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  8. ^ "FAA provides update on status of proposed Georgia spaceport". Athens Banner-Herald. Athens, GA. 5 February 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  9. ^ Williams, Dave (23 March 2017). "Spaceport Camden bill gains final passage in General Assembly". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Atlanta, GA. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  10. ^ Barger, Malissa (2018). "HB 1 - Space Flight". Georgia State University Law Review Reading Room. Atlanta, Georgia. Archived from the original on 1 January 2022. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  11. ^ "Study: Spaceport Camden could generate more than $22M in revenue each year". WJXT. Jacksonville, FL. 24 August 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  12. ^ https://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2018/03/12/georgias-spaceport-dream-takes-giant-leap-toward.html
  13. ^ "Record of Decision for Spaceport Camden Final Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). 20 December 2021.
  14. ^ "FAA grants operator license for Spaceport Camden". 20 December 2021.
  15. ^ Landers, Mary (4 January 2023). "Spaceport project in limbo but spending continues". The Current. Retrieved 8 January 2023.
  16. ^ Supreme Court of Georgia (7 February 2023). Decision S22A0837. CAMDEN COUNTY v. SWEATT, et al.
  17. ^ Russell, Kendall (4 August 2017). "Vector Launches First Ever Rocket from Spaceport Camden". Satellite Today. Via Satellite. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Camden County promotes innovation, research park". WJXT. Jacksonville, FL. 6 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  19. ^ "Georgia's Space Industry Gets Ready To Blast Off". WABE. Atlanta, GA. 14 April 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  20. ^ Henning, Allyson (2 August 2017). "Camden Spaceport sees 1st launch". WJXT. Jacksonville, FL. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  21. ^ "ABL Space Systems Signs Lease with JDA to Begin Operations in Camden County". Business Wire. 17 September 2018. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  22. ^ "Record of Decision for Spaceport Camden Final Environmental Impact Statement" (PDF). 20 December 2021.
  23. ^ "FAA grants operator license for Spaceport Camden". 20 December 2021.
  24. ^ "Vector Successfully Launches First Ever Rocket from Spaceport Camden". PR Newswire. Cision. 3 August 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  25. ^ Dickson, Terry (3 August 2017). "Small rocket flies from planned Spaceport Camden". The Florida Times-Union. Jacksonville, FL. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
  26. ^ Henning, Allyson (2 August 2017). "Camden Spaceport sees 1st launch". Jacksonville, FL: WJXT. Archived from the original on 11 November 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.

External links[edit]