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FAA Announces New Timetable For Spaceport Camden

Officials in Camden County submitted a revised license application to the FAA in January that calls for launching only small rockets from the site rather than the medium-to-large rockets envisioned in the original plan.
Spaceport Camden
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Officials in Camden County submitted a revised license application to the FAA in January that calls for launching only small rockets from the site rather than the medium-to-large rockets envisioned in the original plan.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revised its review schedule for a planned commercial spaceport in southeastern Georgia that will take the process into the fall of next year.

The delayed timetable for Spaceport Camden is to allow additional time to revise an environmental impact study (EIS) to take into account a significant change in the design of the project.

Officials in Camden County submitted a revised license application to the FAA in January that calls for launching only small rockets from the site rather than the medium-to-large rockets envisioned in the original plan.

Conservation and environmental groups opposed to the spaceport sent a letter in February asking the FAA to order the revised EIS.

“The county’s decision to focus on risky, unproven small rockets requires a thorough environmental review and the opportunity for public input,” Brian Gist, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, said Wednesday. “Camden County should recognize that this is the wrong place for a spaceport.”

Homeowners on nearby Little Cumberland Island have joined environmental critics in opposing the proposed spaceport as a threat to public safety.

Officials with the National Park Service have warned the spaceport could disrupt tourism at the popular Cumberland Island National Seashore, while the Defense Department has raised concerns over the proposed launch site’s proximity to the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base.

The project’s backers have countered that a commercial spaceport would represent a huge economic boost for southeastern Georgia and attract aerospace engineering graduates from Georgia Tech who otherwise likely would take their skills and earning power out of state. The project has been endorsed by Gov. Brian Kemp and the state’s congressional delegation.

While the FAA held two public hearings on the project last month in Kingsland, the new timetable will allow time for additional public input. The agency estimates a decision on whether to green light the spaceport won’t come until October 2021.

Copyright 2020 Georgia Public Broadcasting

Dave Williams