Spaceport Camden Adds General to Steering Committee

WOODBINE, Ga., Oct. 16, 2017 (Spaceport Camden PR) — Major General Robert S. Dickman, the former commander of the 45 Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral, FL is joining the Spaceport Camden Steering Committee.

An executive director of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics, General Dickman also served as vice commander of what is now the 50th Space Wing at Schriever AFB, CO, responsible for operating all Air Force on-orbit satellite systems; Director of Air Force Space Systems in the Pentagon; the first Department of Defense Space Architect; the senior military officer at the National Reconnaissance Office and the Deputy for Military Space in the office of the Undersecretary of the Air Force.

During his tenure at Cape Canaveral, General Dickman oversaw twenty Titan IV, Atlas II and Delta II launches from Air Force launch sites on Cape Canaveral and provided range and range safety support to ten Shuttle missions from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, all successful.

“Very few people in the world can say they’ve launched 20 orbital class rockets and even fewer were involved with ten successful Space Shuttle launches,” said County Administrator and Spaceport Camden Project Lead, Steve Howard. “We are beyond fortunate that General Dickman calls Camden County home and has agreed to lend his expertise to this project. I can’t think of anyone else with as much knowledge and experience as he has. General Dickman is going to be an invaluable resource to Spaceport Camden.”

Major General Dickman was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and raised in New Jersey. In 1966, he entered the Air Force right out of the ROTC program at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. He later earned a master’s degree in space physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology, as well as a master’s degree in management from Salve Regina College. He is now retired and currently resides in St. Mary’s, Camden County, Georgia, with his wife Barbara. He and his wife have one son, Tad, who lives in Jacksonville, Florida.

When asked about this opportunity, General Dickman said, “Having overseen the Eastern Range for the United States Air Force and been involved with commercial space for the past decade I can attest to the growing launch demand in the commercial space sector. A dedicated, commercial, vertical launch facility on the east coast is a valuable asset for Coastal Georgia and for the space launch industry.”

More about Spaceport Camden: Our Vision is to develop a successful world class spaceport through a public-private partnership that establishes Camden County as the Commercial Space Center of the United States. Our Mission is to create the premier spaceport strategically positioned to provide economic diversity with a competitive advantage for the space sector, Camden County, the State of Georgia and the United States of America. For more information, please view our website at www.SpaceportCamden.us.

  • Camden politicians, like those in New Mexico, Alaska, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Dubai, Nova Scotia and a dozen spots in Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia, etc., etc., all want to develop a “successful world class spaceport.” Plus Camden will have to compete with India, China and Russia. Whew!

    Four things are obvious showstoppers: 1) there are NO space tourist rockets that will launch from Camden; 2) existing orbital rocket companies do not need Camden 3) costs will be higher from Camden because all launches will be over Cumberland Island National Seashore AND private residences; and 4) there are NO operational small satellite launchers.

    Camden’s State REpresentative spent political capital in two legislative sessions to get a law that protects space tourist launch companies from their customers. But Camden would be a vertical launch spaceport and BO has announced its tourist flights will be from Van Horn and their capsule cannot float. Is SpaceX even talking sub-orbital space tourism?

    If Florida didn’t need Shiloh to keep SpaceX and Blue Origin and plus add Orbital ATK, then none of those companies will add infrastructure in Camden and be constrained by keyhole trajectories smaller than Boca Chica. They will never be allowed to drop rocket parts on Cumberland Island. Closing the beach at Boca Chica inconveniences local beachcombers. Closing Cumberland Island, even for a few hours, means removing wilderness backpackers who made their reservations 6 months in advance. 50,000 people a year travel through St. Marys, Georgia to catch the Cumberland ferry. And there will be a question about the legality of a Constitutional taking if they launch over Cumberland Island private property. The launch company will have to pay more in Camden just to manage those types of items.

    As to the impending small launch vehicles, Camden is flirting with Vector Space. Vector recently launched an amateur rocket in Camden acting like it was the real thing. The airframe was a sheet aluminum shell over structural tubing and made it to the bottom of the clouds at about 5,000 feet. Jim Cantrell came across alligators, snakes and wild boar in our wilderness while launching and searching for their spent rocket. They are a long way from a two-stage rocket carbon-fiber fuselage since they just received their short-bed winding machine. They claim a huge backlog of bookings, but many are from startups backed by the same high-risk investors. Rocket Lab might be a better fit for Camden, but how many launches would they choose to make from their most expensive spaceport? Is Camden counting on ARCA or FireFly?

    After all, it will be a very competitive East Coast considering that MARS has two mostly vacant pads that Virginia has been investing in for years. And Florida will not let Georgia take business away from Kennedy/Shiloh.

    And by the way, Camden will have to borrow money just to close the spaceport real estate. The State of Georgia has contributed zero.

    So just exactly how is any General going to be able to advise Camden on such business matters?