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Spaceport startup launches small amateur rockets from ship

A company dubbed The Spaceport Company on May 22, 2023 launched two small amateur rockets from a ship in the Gulf of Mexico in order to demonstrate the logistics of such launches in advance of developing a floating launchpad.

The Spaceport Company, based in northern Virginia, launched on Monday 4-inch and 6-inch diameter rockets from a vessel about 30 miles south of Gulfport, Miss. The one-year-old company wanted to demonstrate its operations and logistics, which included getting approval from federal regulators, before developing larger floating platforms that would send satellites into orbit.

These offshore launches, as small as they were, were the first such ocean launches in U.S. history.

It appears that the company wants to offer an alternative launch option that might avoid the problems created by regulators in the UK that destroyed Virgin Orbit.

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.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • john hare

    I believe some V2s were launched from a carrier in the late 40s. Project bumper might have ad a two stage from there as well.

  • GeorgeC

    I wonder if is possible to go to orbit with an ITAR ok rocket?

  • Col Beausabre

    n a cloudy September day, two years after the end of World War II, a captured German V-2 rocket was successfully test fired from the USS MIDWAY. This was a historic first in the annals of naval warfare.

    Naval records indicate the test took place several hundred miles off the East Coast of the United States with the country’s top naval and civilian rocketry experts in attendance. The goal of the test? To determine if modern rockets could be fired from naval platforms and perform as intended. At that time, there was some question as to whether major modifications might be necessary for shipboard launches of missiles.

    The V-2 successfully lifted off the USS MIDWAY and was exploded about six miles away, just a few minutes after launch.

    Although the test took place on September 6, 1947, the results and photography were not released to the public until the next month, on October 13, 1947. Rear Admiral D.V. Gallery, Assistant Chief of Naval Operations for Guided Missiles, declared the test a success. The MIDWAY missile test is now considered to have been the dawn of naval missile warfare.

    Dan Gallery had been the captain of USS Guadalcanal (CVE-60) when she and her escorts captured U-505 in the mid-Atlantic, the first time since the War of 1812 that such an event occurred.

    The ex-seaplane tender (AV) USS Norton Sound was te Navy’s missile test ship for many years (AVM-1)

    “Later Norton Sound was converted to a missile-launching platform. She was in Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1948 for seven months while equipment was installed for handling, stowing, launching, and controlling guided missiles.[1]

    Upon completion of her modifications in October 1948, Norton Sound steamed for her new homeport of Port Hueneme, California. En route she conducted tests with Skyhook balloons. Off the coast of Southern California she underwent a missile training program. Late that Autumn Norton Sound launched a training missile, marking the beginning of the Navy’s use of shipborne guided missiles.[1]

    After launching equipment for Aerobee rockets was installed[2] at Long Beach Naval Shipyard in February 1949, she steamed to equatorial waters off the South American coast and launched two Aerobees. These launchings provided information on the earth’s radiation belt.[1]

    On 1 July 1949, Norton Sound headed for the geomagnetic equator 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south of Hawaii, and conducted tests with seventeen Skyhook balloons and nine smaller balloon clusters, all carrying scientific instrumentation packages.[1]

    After modifications in February and March 1950 at San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Norton Sound launched a five-ton Viking rocket 11 May in Project Reach. This rocket carried a 500-pound instrumentation package to an altitude of 106.4 miles (171 km), and provided data on cosmic rays. Project “Reach” concluded the first phase of Norton Sound’s use as a missile platform.[1]

    1950 to 1962
    In the fall of 1950 Norton Sound underwent a four-month overhaul at San Francisco Naval Shipyard. New Terrier missile handling, launching, stowage, and guidance systems were installed, and she was reclassified from “AV-11” to “AVM-1″ on 8 August 1951. This was the first of three extensive alterations accomplished through 1955. Test launchings of Terrier and Tartar missiles continued through 1958.[1]

    In 1958 Norton Sound participated in Operation Argus. From south of the Falkland Islands she launched three rockets carrying low-yield atomic warheads. Detonations occurred at an altitude of 300 miles (480 km), and effects were monitored by the Explorer IV satellite and other instrumented rockets. Analysis of the data contributed to the discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt.[1] Her commanding officer, Captain Arthur R. Gralla, received the Legion of Merit for his role leading the task force responsible for these tests.[3][4]

    The ship returned to San Diego in June 1959 and resumed Terrier and Tartar test launchings. These operations continued until June 1962, when she steamed for Norfolk, Virginia, where she was decommissioned 10 August 1962.[1]

    1962 to 1969

    USS Norton Sound departing the shipyard at Long Beach, fitted with a Mark 45 5-inch/54-caliber gun for underway trials, c.1970
    In November 1962 she was towed to Baltimore, Maryland for installation of the Typhon Weapon Control System,[1] including the AN/SPG-59 radar. This was completed early in 1964, and Norton Sound recommissioned 20 June 1964 for weapons research.[1]

    Homeported in Baltimore, Norton Sound operated for several months in Chesapeake Bay, evaluating the Typhon System. She was then assigned to Port Hueneme, Calif. in July 1965. Her mission was increased to include evaluation of the Sea Sparrow missile, which she first launched 13 September 1965.”

  • Star Bird

    Germany was coming up with their V-3 when the War ended but their V-2,s nearly reach Outer Space

  • Edward

    Everyone missed the U.S. submarine-launched ballistic missiles, which continue to undergo routine test launches. However, all these rockets are military ones, not private, commercial company rockets. This is what is new, this year.

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