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Myths and Facts About Spaceport Camden

 

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Georgia is Getting Ready to Launch at T-1!
THE COUNTDOWN IS ON

The FAA plans to release the Record of Decision in September, 2021!

 Department of Defense-United States (DOD)

Formal communication was made May 11, 2021 to the Federal Aviation Administration from the Department of Defense that it  had reviewed the revised spaceport launch service operator license (LSOL) and the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Spaceport Camden and was prepared to concur.

 In June 2021, the FAA released the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Spaceport Camden which recommends the issuance of a Launch Site Operator License to Camden County as the preferred action:
On July 8, 2021 The DNR Coastal Management Program concurred with the Camden County’s federal consistency certification for issuance of an FAA-issued Launch Site Operator License at Spaceport Camden.
Global Space Economy Rose to $447B in 2020, Continuing Five-Year Growth
Space Foundation Released ‘The Space Report 2021 Q2’ Detailing Growth of 4.4% Over 2019 Revised Total — 55% Higher Than a Decade Ago

  • Commercial space grew 6.6% in 2020, representing nearly 80% of space economy
  • US, China and ESA remain top three investors in global space economy
  • US military space spending increased 6.1% in 2020, reaching new height of $26.6B
See the Full Report

Camden County is strategically positioned to be one of the most important commercial spaceports in the United States. Upon license issuance, Spaceport Camden will be the only exclusively vertical, non-federal range on the East Coast. The FAA has announced plans to release the Record of Decision in September 2021.

As Spaceport Camden gets closer to the goal of securing a Launch Site Operator License, attention from Georgians and organizations around the country is increasing, and misinformation and rumors may begin to muddy the waters. The intent of this newsletter is to continue to provide current, accurate and comprehensive information about the project.

Camden County provides ready access to cutting-edge space research and technology. The Georgia Institute of Technology is a top tier research university with established space technology programs. Each year, Georgia Tech graduates more than 200 students with interests in space systems engineers and space science. Georgia Tech’s Center for Space Technology and Research brings together a wide range of space science, space technology and space research activities including efforts on the frontiers of astrophysics, Earth science, planetary science, robotics, space policy, space technology and space systems engineering.
“Spaceport Camden may begin to help reverse that trend [of losing educated Georgians to other states] by creating high-paying technical jobs in Camden County, surrounding counties, and the Georgia coast.”

– Newt Gingrich, Former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

As mentioned earlier, Georgia is home to more than 800 major aerospace companies, including Lockheed Martin, Gulfstream Aerospace, and Meggitt Polymers & Composites. Aerospace products are Georgia’s No. 1 export, worth $10.8 billion and are also Georgia’s second largest manufacturing industry, worth $57.5 billion. The Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, is the alma mater for 14 astronauts out of the hundreds hired by NASA, has one of the oldest and largest aerospace programs in the country and is the largest producer of aerospace engineers in the U.S.

In addition, there is a tremendous number of individuals transitioning from the military workforce in Georgia that could act as a pipeline for the spaceport. Some examples include Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Fort Benning, Dobbins Air Force Base and more.

“The aerospace industry in Georgia is strong, and Georgia’s favorable business climate, Camden’s aerospace history, high tech military workforce and advantageous geographical location make Spaceport Camden a desirable location for both manufacturing and launching spacecraft.”

– Harry O’Hanley, CEO of ABL Space Systems

Transitioning Military Workforce Pipeline

Did You Know: In 2014, Camden County was a finalist for Project Panther?

When comparing Spaceport Camden to other FAA-licensed launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force station (CCAFS), Camden County established that Spaceport Camden provides more than twice the safety distances to critical infrastructure than at CCAFS. For example, the TFR Dry Dock at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is nearly twice the distance from FAA licensed- SLC-476 to the Trident Wharf and more than five times the distance from SpaceX Landing Zone 1 to industrial the facilitates at CCAFS.

Further, all propellant handling and storage safety distances for facilities at Spaceport Camden are consistent with both FAA Explosive safety guidelines (14 CFR Part 420 Appendix E) and the DoD Ammunition and Explosive Safety Standards (DoD 6055.09).

As mentioned earlier, numerous individuals transitioning from the military workforce in Georgia could act as a pipeline for the spaceport. For example, the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay is where small rockets (ballistic missiles) are fabricated by highly skilled technicians and engineers. Many of these individuals transition out of the Navy every year and are perfect high-tech workers for the spaceport. Spaceport Camden has the opportunity to collaborate with this transitioning military workforce to provide employment and keep these individuals in Camden County.

“The Naval Submarine Base at Kings Bay and the Spaceport can certainly coexist. We’ve seen nuclear powered warships moor at Cape Canaveral for decades with no issues whatsoever. Clearly, operational agreements will be made, communications protocols will be necessary, and emergency assistance sharing would assist both entities.”

– Vice Admiral Al Konetzni, Former Deputy Command of U.S. Forces Fleet Command (ret.), Camden County Resident

Space News

Pentagon Study: Spaceport Camden Needed to Protect Strategic US Interests

A new report commissioned by the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit advises that spaceport access is vital in order for the U.S. to continue to lead in space exploration – a finding that highlights Spaceport Camden’s important role. The report stated, “Our nation’s continued leadership in space may well be determined by whether U.S. launch capacity can be expanded rapidly enough to meet anticipated demand.”

The paper, authored by the consulting firm Quilty Analytics, discusses the difficult and time-consuming process to make a launch site operational. Importantly, the study found that the majority of US Spaceports are unsuitable for future launch needs because they are horizontal, not vertical launch sites like Spaceport Camden. The study notes, “[d]ue to the inherent performance limitations of horizontal launch, the future space economy will be dependent on vertical launch.” However, “[e]fforts to establish all-new vertical launch sites have historically encountered resistance from environmentalists and local citizenry. SpaceX’s Boca Chica launch site required about eight years from initial plans to the first experimental launch, and an effort to develop a new launch site in Camden, GA, has been ongoing since 2012.”

The authors note that FAA is working to streamline launch and reentry licensing requirements and better coordinate airspace with restrictions, which should “support a two- to three-fold increase in the annual launch cadence.”However, even with this increase in launch capacity they found that “the U.S. will still remain precariously dependent on a handful of key spaceports – a dependency that, if not resolved, will undermine U.S. interests strategically and commercially in the next decade.”

Finally, the authors note that “[f]or an industry accustomed to overcoming ‘rocket science’ challenges, the simple issue of spaceport access may seem like a routine matter, but it could singlehandedly throttle the industry’s long-term growth rate if not properly addressed and resolved.”

“Opponents of Spaceport Camden have tried to sell a tale that Spaceport Camden isn’t necessary.  That’s a myth that has now been fully debunked by this Pentagon study,” said Board of County Commissioners Chairman, Gary Blount.  “Not only is Spaceport Camden necessary to protect US strategic interests, this catalyst project is of local and regional significance. Spaceport Camden will help fuel Camden’s future prosperity,” added Blount.

Camden County is waiting on the FAA to issue a Record of Decision on its Final Environmental Impact Statement which was published on July 24, 2021.  That decision is expected in September 2021.

2021 Has Been a Historic Year!

How the Billionaire Space Race Benefits Us All | American Enterprise Institute – AEI

Last month, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos became the first two private citizens to go to space on rockets built by their own companies — Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, respectively. Back on Earth, this landmark achievement was largely met with derision, reflected in Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s (D-HI) tongue-in-cheek plea that Bezos “please stay up there.” Many felt that in the midst of a pandemic, a space race among some of the world’s richest men was a hedonistic waste of resources.

This knee-jerk reaction is shortsighted. The new space race represents far more than a billionaire vanity project. And while it’s unclear which titan will win, it’s obvious who will ultimately benefit: mankind.

Read the Full Article

Moving Forward…

Organization Spotlight:
Georgia Tech’s Ramblin’ Rocket Club Part 2

Spaceport Camden had the pleasure of interviewing two Georgia Tech students in the Ramblin’ Rocket Club, one of the biggest student-led organizations in Georgia Tech’s School of Aerospace Engineering. The Ramblin’ Rocket Club’s active membership consists of over 50 BS, MS and PhD students working on a diverse set of projects, ranging from competitive rocketry to high altitude ballooning (HAB) for cube-satellite research.

We had the pleasure of speaking with club Vice President and rising third year at Georgia Tech Sajni Saravanan and past president of the club’s GTXR team and rising fourth year at Georgia Tech Carson Coursey about their thoughts on the aerospace industry and the potential of Spaceport Camden.

How did you get involved in aerospace, and what peaked your interests in these fields?
Sajni Saravanan: 
In high school when I was looking at all of the engineering majors, I was pretty set on engineering. But, I was also set on finding a major that was the intersection between doing research that could benefit and help the community, while also being able to work on really cool machinery. That’s my favorite part of aerospace engineering. We are able to work with these incredible machines and rockets that can go up to mock speeds and incredible altitudes that are really pushing the boundaries of engineering. While at same time, conducting research that helps people back on Earth. That’s what led me to majoring in engineering here at Georgia Tech.
Carson Coursey:
I am similar to Sajni. I realized, maybe back in in middle school, that I thought space was cool. Then I realized I like building things, so aerospace engineering landed on that. I would also be able to impact the world in a positive way, so that’s kind of how I landed on aerospace engineering. I’m from Georgia and Georgia Tech is right there, so it’s a great option as far as studying. In the past year, as I mentioned, I’ve been getting really interested in the engineering aspects of aerospace, but also the policy and law aspects of space and aerospace because I think over the next few decades, it’s going to be a really interesting field and a more important field as aerospace grows.
How do you think Georgia can capitalize on STEM opportunities around the spaceport? As you both mentioned, you became interested in middle school and high school.
Carson Coursey:
I think any additional stem industry or facility is beneficial to K-12 education. GTXR tries to do a lot of giving back to the K-12 community in Atlanta and Georgia through some partners we have. And I’ve been really excited to do that and expand that in the Georgia Tech aerospace department. I think any additional facility is just another thing to show students and get them excited about aerospace, not just in Camden County area. But if you have a Spaceport in Camden County, then that’s for everywhere in Georgia. It is closer than going to Florida for facilities like Kennedy or Wallops or out west. Any facility is just another opportunity to inspire more kids, and not only inspire but to educate them even more.
Many of the top aerospace students graduating in country are from Georgia Tech, and many of the students end up leaving Georgia. Do you think having a spaceport in Georgia will help keep students here? How do you think having a spaceport in Georgia will impact future aerospace career possibilities?
Sajni Saravanan: 
One thing I’ve noticed is that it’s definitely needed to develop a relationship to keep students in Georgia. It’s all about giving them opportunities in college and through graduation in Georgia. A lot of people, especially out of state students like me who don’t have a home base in Georgia, if we are offered a position outside of Georgia, it doesn’t carry any weight if it’s in or out of Georgia. If it’s cool, we are going to accept it. I know specifically one company we have been working with, SpaceWorks, to try and find a test site. But they themselves were having difficulty finding a test site in Georgia. Provide resources to help aerospace companies grow in Georgia and in turn, that will help them develop relationships with students graduating within Georgia and to keep them here.

Carson Coursey:
Yeah absolutely. I cannot name or I don’t know if there is a root cause for why everyone leaves. And its great Sajni is not from Georgia and I am, so we can bring two sides to that coin. Personally, I love Georgia and I would love to stay in Georgia. But, if you split aerospace into aviation and then space, there’s ton of aviation opportunities with Lockheed down in Marietta and Warner Robbins with Gulfstream, Delta and more. But as far as I’m aware of, there’s only a handful of space companies that are those top name space companies. I’m sure there’s some small satellite companies around, SpaceWorks, Generation Orbit. Hermes is a new one with hypersonic, but all the sort of big name, really attractive companies and organizations are not in Georgia. You look at even NASA, they are in Huntsville, so there’s nothing inherently in Georgia. I definitely think Spaceport Camden in Georgia is a step in the right direction, and it’s fostering that exciting space industry in Georgia.

As the year continues, we will continue to share facts and debunk myths about Spaceport Camden and the project.
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Spaceport Camden
200 East 4th Street
PO Box 99
Woodbine, GA 31569
PH: (912) 510-0464
Fax: (912) 576-5647

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