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FAA approves controversial Spaceport Camden proposal

Spaceport Camden rendering
Spaceport Camden
A drawing of the proposed Spaceport Camden.

Updated 11 a.m. Dec. 20.

The Federal Aviation Authority on Monday approved Camden County’s controversial plan to build a commercial spaceport at the site of the former Union Carbide manufacturing plant. The site is near little Cumberland Island in Southeast Georgia.

Camden County commissioners have been working on the Spaceport Camden proposal for almost a decade. Their plan is to purchase the former Union Carbide industrial property in South Georgia and convert it into a commercial launch site for small rockets.

Before they could make the purchase, commissioners needed a license from the FAA authorizing them to have a spaceport. Companies wanting to use the spaceport also would have to get a separate license before any rockets could take off.

Also before any rockets could launch from the site, the proposal could face another, local hurdle. More than 4,000 people also have filed petitions to county court calling for a vote on the matter, before the county commissioners can buy the land, according to the group Taxpayers Against Camden Spaceport.

A large group of residents, as well as the National Park Service, have opposed the proposal, citing the risks of rocket crashes or explosions over homes and the neighboring nature preserve on Little Cumberland Island.

The FAA has previously delayed its decision twice, ahead of the ruling Monday.