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.

The draft EIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts associated with air quality; biological resources (including fish, wildlife, and plants); climate; coastal resources; farmlands; hazardous materials, solid waste, and pollution prevention; historical, architectural, archeological and cultural resources; land use; natural resources and energy supply; noise and noise-compatible land use; publicly owned parks, recreational areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges, and public and private historic sites; socioeconomics, environmental justice, and children’s health and safety risks; visual effects; and water resources (including wetlands, floodplains, surface waters, groundwater, and wild and scenic rivers).

Spaceport Camden launch complex (Credit: Camden County)

“Today is a historic day for Camden County,” said Steve Howard, Camden County Administrator and Spaceport Camden project lead. “We believe we are the only local government in the country to embark on an EIS for a vertical launch site, and it is a testament to the vision of the Board of County Commissioners and to the citizens of Camden County who supported us through this process.”

The draft EIS is also an important feat for launch operators looking to locate to Camden County. “Launch operators need more launch sites, and Camden County has one of the best locations on the east coast.  We are excited to see the FAA’s review of Spaceport Camden move forward,” said Alex Rodriguez, Vice President, Government & External Affairs for Vector.  “Vector was the first company to launch a low altitude suborbital test from Spaceport Camden and we intend to be the first to launch an orbital rocket from Spaceport Camden.”

Spaceport Camden launch trajectories (Credit: Camden County)

Major General Robert S. Dickman (ret), the former commander of the 45 Space Wing and Director of the Eastern Range at Cape Canaveral, FL shared Vector’s sentiment on the need for more launch sites. “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.”

The draft EIS will be made available for public review and comment through May 7, 2018.  In addition, the FAA will hold two public hearings in Camden County to present the findings from the draft EIS and to receive public comments.  The public hearings are scheduled for April 11 and April 12 from 5:30 to 8:30 PM at the Camden County Public Service Authority Recreation Center. The public hearings will include an open house and poster session, FAA presentation, and formal public comment period.

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.

  • Larry J

    More launch sites are a good thing. The range of available launch azimuths does pretty well restrict the utility of this particular site for LEO missions. Given it’s location and the allowed azimuth range, you can only launch into orbits with inclinations between ~31.6 and ~39 degrees without performing a dog-leg maneuver. Dog-leg maneuvers are certainly possible if you have the energy to spare.

  • ThomasLMatula

    The problem is they want to launch over a National Park, which will need to be closed and evacuated for every launch.

    If I was the group opposing it I would use the video of the Chinese booster landing near a village and ask folks if they think a Chinese approach to launch safety is really a good idea.

    If they really want a Spaceport they need to focus on air launch, or launching from a platform built in the ocean on the other side of the National Park.