Spaceport Camden is a proposed spaceport in Camden County, Georgia, near the city of Woodbine. The proposed site tested the largest solid rocket motor ever fired as part of the Apollo Program and Camden County, Georgia was originally considered as a NASA launch site in the 1960s. Spaceport Camden began limited development as a rocket launch facility in early 2014, with its first launch taking place in August 2017, reaching 5,000 ft (1,524 m).
During the early 1960s, Camden County in Georgia was considered by NASA as a potential launch site for the Apollo program. A site on Merritt Island, Florida was selected instead; however some rocket testing for the Apollo program took place on the Georgia site.
In November 2012, the Camden County Joint Development Authority voted unanimously to "explore developing an aero-spaceport facility" at an Atlantic coastal site to support both horizontal and vertical launch operations, in hopes of attracting a SpaceX launch facility. SpaceX selected a location near Brownsville, Texas for its launch site. However, in June 2015 the county authorized environmental studies, purchasing a former Bayer CropScience and Thiokol industrial location to pursue the development of a spaceport. At the time, it was believed that the site, comprising 400 acres (160 ha), could see launches begin by 2020.
In March 2017, despite opposition from Cumberland Island residents concerned about disturbance to Cumberland Island National Seashore and the possibility of injuries and damage from launches, and belief that the Federal Aviation Administration was unlikely to authorize launches due to the fact that launch trajectories would pass over inhabited areas, the Georgia General Assembly approved legislation offering limited liability protection to launches from the proposed spaceport, and in May Governor Nathan Deal signed the Georgia Space Flight Act, fully authorizing the development. A 2017 study by Georgia Southern University determined that the spaceport could provide $22.5 million in yearly revenue to the region.
|The Vector-R is launched at Spaceport Camden.|
The planned facilities at Spaceport Camden include a vertical launch site, a landing facility, and a control center, with provision for viewing facilities. Up to twelve launches and twelve landings a year would be permitted. The construction of an innovation and research park at the spaceport has been proposed to attract additional technology-based industry and create jobs.
In April 2017, Vector Space Systems announced that they would use the Spaceport Camden site to conduct a suborbital rocket test that summer. On 2 August 2017, the first launch from Spaceport Camden, of a Vector-R rocket, successfully took place. The flight had an apogee of 5,000 ft (1,524 m), similar to some high-powered model rockets available for purchase to any member of public in retail shops or internet.
|Launch||Date (UTC)||Vehicle||Payload||Launch pad||Result||Remarks|
|1||2 August 2017, 16:15||Vector-R||Two customer payloads; imaging and medicinal research||Harriett's Bluff Road||Success||Suborbital flight; launch took place from a trailer; the peak altitude was about 5,000 ft (1,524 m).|