Group Sues FAA for Withholding Georgia Spaceport Safety Assessments

Spaceport Camden launch complex (Credit: Camden County)

ATLANTA (SELC PR) — The Southern Environmental Law Center is challenging the Federal Aviation Administration for refusing to disclose important information about the risks of harm to human life and property around a proposed spaceport in Camden County.

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FAA Draft Environmental Impact Statement Released for Spaceport Camden

Spaceport Camden (Credit: Camden County)

WOODBINE, Ga., March 9, 2018 (Camden County PR) — Spaceport Camden has achieved its most significant milestone to date with the release of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

The EIS process for Spaceport Camden began in the fall of 2015 and for the last two and a half years, the FAA has been evaluating the environmental impacts of all proposed construction and operational activities, including those from launches of orbital and suborbital vertical launch vehicles and first-stage landings at Spaceport Camden.

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Group Launches Campaign to Protect Cumberland Island from Proposed Spaceport

WOODBINE, Ga. (Protect Cumberland Island PR) — The Cumberland Island National Seashore is a national treasure that is enjoyed by over 60,000 visitors per year. The Board of Commissioners of Camden County, Georgia is attempting to obtain a license for a commercial spaceport that will require rockets to be launched directly over the National Seashore. This ill-advised plan puts the Cumberland Island National Seashore and coastal marshlands in peril from exploding rockets, environmental contamination and other significant risks. The proposed spaceport would be the first and only spaceport in the United States where rockets are launched over a national park with active visitation and private homes.

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Camden County Signs MOU with ABL Space Systems

WOODBINE, GEORGIA, (Camden County PR) – Steve Howard, Camden County Administrator and Spaceport Camden Project lead announced today that ABL Space Systems has signed a memorandum of understanding (“MOU”) with Camden County officials to explore future launch operations at Spaceport Camden. The MOU outlines how ABL Space Systems will work with Spaceport Camden to test, manufacture, assemble, and launch orbital vehicles in Camden County. The MOU is a precursor to a larger definitive agreement to be negotiated and signed no later than July 31, 2019.

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Research & Innovation Park Proposed for Spaceport Camden

Research and innovation park (Credit: Spaceworks Enterprises)

WOODBINE, Ga., November 6, 2017 (Spaceport Camden PR) – The Camden County Board of Commissioners released a report finding that a Spaceport Camden Innovation and Research Park will lead to expanded job growth and investment benefits for Camden County residents, as well as outside aeronautical firms looking to launch new projects. County leaders requested the analysis from Astralytical, a space analytics firm, to assess the opportunities an aerospace research park would provide.

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Georgia Governor Signs Legislation for Camden County Spaceport

George Gov. Nathan Deal has signed legislation in support of a spaceport in Camden County.

The Georgia Space Flight Act, which the General Assembly passed overwhelmingly in March, will give operators of a planned commercial spaceport in Camden County, Ga., the same liability protections that already exist in states competing with Georgia to host commercial rocket launches. House Bill 1 sets a strict legal standard for a plaintiff, likely a space tourist, injured while riding in a spacecraft to collect damages in a lawsuit.

“Commercial space flight is the next great space race,” said Camden County Administrator and Spaceport Camden project leader Steve Howard, who attended Monday’s bill-signing ceremony. “It is a $320 billion industry that offers tens of thousands of good, high-paying jobs. By signing this legislation today, Gov. Deal is sending a message to the global space industry that we are open for business.”

Camden County is working closely with Arizona-based Vector, a small satellite launch company founded by veterans of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch. Vector, which is planning to conduct a test launch of a suborbital rocket at Camden as early as this summer, launched its first test rocket last week in California’s Mojave Desert.

“The signing of [House Bill] 1 not only represents the huge strides taken in developing space flight legislation,” said Jim Cantrell, Vector’s co-founder and CEO. “[It] also demonstrates the viability of Spaceport Camden to support Vector’s goal of developing hundreds of launches a year.

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Georgia Senate Passes Spaceflight Limited Liability Measure

The Georgia Senate has passed a limited liability law for human spaceflight as part of an effort to establish a spaceport in Camden County.

Other states seeking to get in on the growing commercial space industry have adopted legislation requiring plaintiffs to prove “gross negligence” in order to collect damages, a tougher standard than “ordinary negligence,” and Georgia should do the same in order to compete for space business, said Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, the bill’s chief sponsor….

The proposed Spaceport Camden could create more than 2,000 jobs in an economically stressed part of Georgia, while at the same time serving as a catalyst for companies involved in the commercial space industry in metro Atlanta.

An environmental impact study spearheaded by the Federal Aviation Administration that began late in 2015 is due to produce a draft report by the end of this year….

Also this week, a committee in the Georgia House of Representatives passed an identical bill offering liability protection for spaceport activities.

Meanwhile, the FAA is moving ahead with an assessment of the proposed coastal spaceport.

During an update of the ongoing study released this week, Stacey Zee, a FAA environmental specialist explained the status of the ongoing work.

“The team has been working hard over the past few months to develop the draft EIS and write reports based on the cultural resource surveys and wetland surveys that we completed in the fall,” Zee said.

A survey has been conducted to determine if there are any jurisdictional wetlands on the site for the proposed spaceport. The Army Corps of Engineers has been tasked with reviewing and verifying the information, she said.

The team will also begin consultations with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to discuss endangered species and potential impacts from rocket launches from the site.

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Camden County Appoints Members to Spaceport Subcommittee

camden_county_sealWOODBINE, Ga. (Camden County PR) — At the October 20, 2015 regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners meeting, the Board of Commissioners, upon the recommendation of County Administrator Steve Howard, appointed nine additional committee members to serve on the Environmental Sub-Committee of the Spaceport Camden Steering Committee.

Howard recommended the appointments of Ashby Nix, Satilla Riverkeeper; Alex Kearns, St Marys Earthkeepers; Meagan Desrosiers, One Hundred Miles; Russell Regnery, Ph.D., Little Cumberland Island; Ben Carswell, Jekyll Island Authority; Phil Fortune, J.D.,St. Simons Island; Charles McMillan, P.E., Georgia Conservancy; David Ball, Cumberland Island; and Mark Risse, Ph.D., Georgia Sea Grant and UGA Marine Extension. The new appointees will join Environmental Sub-Committee Chairman Clay Montague, Ph.D., who was also recently appointed by the Commissioners on October 6, 2015.

Howard is excited to have these accomplished individuals to serve on this important committee and he looks forward to their valuable input. “I appreciate their willingness to serve and am confident the committee will do an outstanding job with the tasks set before them.”

Andrew Nelson Joins Spaceport Camden Project Team

camden_county_sealWOODBINE, Ga. (Camden County PR) — The Camden County Board of Commissioners and County Administrator Steve Howard are pleased to announce the recent addition of Andrew Nelson to the Spaceport Camden Project Team.

Nelson is a recognized leader in the commercial space sector with a diverse background leading innovative entrepreneurial space companies, the development of new regulatory environments for the industry and working with governments on the formation of spaceports and operational sites for the industry.

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Georgia Spaceport Effort Advances

Camden_County_JDAA couple of pieces of news from Georgia, where Camden County officials last month commissioned an environmental impact statement for the site of a proposed coastal spaceport and also visited the state capital to promote the project.

County administrator Steve Howard told the board that, after much dialogue, the property owners of the proposed spaceport site off Interstate 95 Exit 7 finalized a confidentiality agreement this week. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which costs $745,000, was approved by the board of commissioners and includes many steps with private companies, the Federal Aviation Administration and a private EIS consultant assigned to Camden’s officials.

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Georgia Spaceport Plan Advances

camden_county_sealThe Brunswick News has the following update on efforts to develop a spaceport in Georgia:

The Camden County Commission wants to show it is in the race to bring a space port to the county.

Commissioners voted, 5-0, Tuesday to hire Holland & Knight, a Washington, D.C.,-based consulting firm, to represent the county with real estate, environmental counseling and government affairs services to help convince Space X that Camden County is the best location among three finalists to build a commercial space port….

The consultant will review and analyze an environmental impact statement and comments from interested parties, assist the Camden County Joint Development Authority in negotiations to acquire land for the launch facility, off-site launch control and viewing facility from the current owners, Union Carbide and Bayer CropScience.

The consultant will also evaluate options for the off-site facility, analyze and evaluate options regarding acquisition and construction financing, determine off-site easements needed and address any political or administrative concerns or issues with the Federal Aviation Administration, Navy, Environmental Protection Agency, Army Corps of Engineers and other state and federal agencies.

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