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FAA approves license for launchpad in Camden, Georgia

Capitalism in space: After years of review, FAA yesterday finally approved a license for building a space launchpad in Camden, Georgia.

The approval however does not mean rockets will begin launching, even in the near future. First, there is the opposition to the spaceport, an opposition based on the simple fact that the rockets have to fly over seven miles over land before reaching the Atlantic Ocean.

About 3,800 people have signed a petition calling for a referendum that would let voters decide whether the county can buy the property. “Virtually from the start, the FAA’s review of Spaceport Camden has been fraught with factual mistakes and legal errors,” Brian Gist, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, said in a statement Monday. “We will carefully review the FAA’s decision to ensure that it fully complies with all applicable laws.”

The National Park Service and its parent agency, the U.S. Department of the Interior, also have expressed concerns.

In a July 22 letter to the FAA, the Interior Department said a chance of rockets exploding — with fiery debris raining down on wilderness land on Cumberland Island — creates an “unacceptable risk.” Cumberland Island, with its wild horses and nesting sea turtles, is a popular tourist area off the Georgia coast.

The threat to wildlife by the rocket launches is certainly bogus, as we have more than a half century of evidence at Cape Canaveral that space launches not only do no harm to wildlife, they actually help because they stop development.

The environmental opposition however is actually being used as a weapon by many local residents who really fear the launches because the spaceport seems to them too close to residential areas. They also fear it will also likely interfere with tourism to the coastal beaches and parks that the rockets will fly over, causing them to be shut down during launches.

Because the fears about the nearness of residential areas and the harm to tourism are somewhat legitimate, they illustrate a second reason why this spaceport will likely fail. Why should any rocket company choose this launch site, so close to residential areas and so opposed by many locals, especially when there are now so many other less risky and controversial spaceports to choose from? I suspect very few will do so, and this project will eventually die, even if it finally gets full approval and is built.

Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

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2 comments

  • I’m biased, since I’ve been on the advisory board for Spaceport Camden for many years.

    The “local opposition” is about six rich lawyers who don’t want anything to change near their plush beach retreats. It’s not the rocket launches they object to (although that’s their public stance)… it’s the economic development that would come from a spaceport. Everything from paved roads to satellite assembly facilities to McDonald’s to feed the workers.

    Add in the typical BANANA fellow travelers (“Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything”… worse than NIMBY) and you get a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

    Once all that has blown over… yes, there are ridiculous number of spaceports being licensed. “More spaceports than launch vehicles,” as the joke goes. But how many of those spaceports allow equatorial or low-inclination launches over ocean, without tangling with military-controlled airspace? And how many have direct rail, Interstate highway, and deep-water port accessibility, with two international airports within an hour’s drive?

    Spaceport Camden is the only opportunity we will probably ever have to build a brand-new East Coast orbital launch facility. Let’s not dismiss it quite so quickly.

  • geoffc

    I love BANANA! Never heard that one before.

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