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.

ABL Space Systems is a small satellite launch provider started by former SpaceX engineers. Their RS-1 vehicle is designed to place 900 kilograms into low earth orbit or 650 kilograms into sun synchronous orbit. ABL has targeted 2020 for their first commercial launch and is interested in locating engineering, manufacturing and research and development in Camden County in addition to launch activities from Spaceport Camden.

“Over the last three years, we’ve put Camden County, Georgia on the map of every aerospace company in the United States,” said Steve Howard. “The idea that we are in the midst of a new space race isn’t public relations spin or wishful thinking, it is evident by the number of companies that contact me on a regular basis looking to work with Spaceport Camden. We decided to enter into this MOU with ABL Space Systems because of their talented team and their commitment to Georgia.”

Harry O’Hanley, CEO of ABL Space Systems, added, “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. We signed this MOU with Camden County because we want to be on the ground floor of this exciting opportunity.”

More about ABL Space Systems: ABL Space Systems builds rockets to launch small satellites. For more information, please view our website at

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

  • Lee John

    this is what you are waiting for, john adam : ESTRENOSSX.BLOGSPOT.COM

  • So a startup company with a wannabe rocket signs a MOU to launch from a place with a wannabe spaceport. Sounds like a great plan doesn’t it?

  • Ignacio Rockwill

    Ah, the disposable smallsat launcher du jour.

  • Michael Halpern

    Small launchers are a dime a dozen so getting the spaceport operational could be a good investment, even if the start up fails,

  • Spaceport Camden is seeking a liquid-fueled rocket site license. So actually, Michael, there is only one US-licensed liquid-fueled launcher, the Electron, and it has launched twice from New Zealand where they seem to be happy with both polar and eastward trajectories. Granted, there are 30+ companies competing for this business, but many have failed. As far as I can tell, ABL has zero operational technology but expects to launch satellites in 2 years. Do you think that’s possible? This contract is about as important as the promises made by XCOR. By the way, Camden County’s spaceport consultant is the ex-President and ex-COO of XCOR. Should we count on any of Camden’s promises?

  • Michael Halpern

    Vector is liquid fueled, same with Relativity, as are many others most barely have an engine so far like Launcher Space, you have a couple hybrids around in small launch but if you look at small launch start ups which there are a lot of, and a new one every month or so, most of them are liquid propulsion, because its known and 3d printing makes it accessible from a manufacturing standpoint

  • Come on Michael. Cheer-leading is for football. There are 30+ companies currently trying to get an operational rocket. Add ABL to the mix. Vector inherited 10 years of Garvey’s work and still hasn’t launched above 5,000′ with their Vector-R. Camden signing an MOU, a non-binding, zero value agreement (not a contract) was done for the publicity, not because either party has anything real to offer.

    The FAA will release the draft EIS this week, then there will be at least 1 year of discussion and two + years of litigation since Camden plans to launch OVER private property and residences just 4 miles downrange. Assuming that they get the site license, they then will have to convince an insurer to cover the launches which, for the first time ever, will be over uninvolved 3rd parties. Georgia’s Constitution prohibits condemnation for commercial development so Camden should expect plenty of fireworks.

    All for cheap rockets? There’s not a business model that works and taxpayers are smart here. Politicians who have “launch fever”, and the space industry promoters making a buck on it for as long as it lasts, are grasping at straws. That’s why all of these companies are operating on high risk capital rather than cash flow. Have you seen anything about the net worth of ABL? And do you know why the principals left SpaceX? One thing for sure, SpaceX has spawned a host of ex-employees who like to tout their ex-employer’s success when they ask for money.

  • Michael Halpern

    At least a couple will stick, and they aren’t going for cost/kg market they are going for low launch cost and responsive launch

  • duheagle

    One thing for sure, SpaceX has spawned a host of ex-employees who like
    to tout their ex-employer’s success when they ask for money.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing. It’s a feature, not a bug.

  • There will be thousands of ex-SpaceX employees. Were they all successful? Did they all resign to start new rocket companies? Are they all able to duplicate what SpaceX does, even for a small-lift rocket? Which one would you bet your money on? Remember, Gwynne Shotwell said “We couldn’t get the Falcon 1 to earn its place on the factory floor. . .Certainly the numbers — both the investment numbers as well as the number of launches — have changed dramatically and that is something that the Falcon 1 did not have.”

  • Michael Halpern

    This is a common feature in any industry disruptor, everyone going into the industry wants to work for the disruptor, and even if they can’t move up in the company, their resumes make them highly desirable and give them credibility if they want to start their own thing

  • duheagle

    Someday there will thousands of ex-SpaceX employees. Not yet, though. Despite dark tales of high turnover and employee burnout promulgated by some, I don’t find any of that among the SpaceX-ers I’ve met at random through living near the factory. All my chance-met acquaintances tend to have five or so years in at 1 Rocket Road.

    That said, ex-SpaceX-ers were key to starting up Firefly, Vector and now ABL. Firefly folded, but now is in the process of being resuscitated so its ultimate fate is still TBD. Vector and ABL are still in the chase. There are certainly additional companies with some ex-SpaceX talent at or near their tops. Not all are in the launch business. I seem to recall Made In Space as having some ex-SpaceX-ers.

    The point is that any new industrial sector tends to spawn a lot of new smaller companies started by ex-employees of the pioneer firm(s). That was certainly the case in Silicon Valley. Shockley Transistor begat Fairchild Semiconductor and after that it was Katie bar the door.

  • Michael Halpern

    Speaking of firefly, i hope they get that areospike going, people often slam 50s and 60s concepts but the fact is even if they have yet to be employed there is valid math and good thinking behind many of them,