Picture credit - Camden County Government Seal

The following is a full statement from the Camden County Board of Commissioners, issued Friday, February 15, 2019. 

Steve Weinkle, webmaster of the site Spaceportfacts.org released a draft document and graphic used by Spaceport Camden, its consultants and its attorneys, to demonstrate the safety of Spaceport Camden as part of the risk analysis required by the FAA for a Launch Site Operator License.

First and foremost, this document proves unequivocally that Spaceport Camden passes the FAA’s overflight exclusion zone requirement for a Launch Site Operator License as codified under Part 420 of the FAA’s regulations.

More importantly, this document represents a “stress test” analysis to calculate the boundary of Spaceport Camden’s safety zones using estimated launch failure rates that are 3 times greater than required by the FAA for such an analysis.  The stress test analysis also included other highly conservative assumptions including: 

  • Assumed the largest launch vehicle that will be launched at Spaceport Camden, a medium-large rocket similar to a SpaceX Falcon 9 or United Launch Alliance Atlas V.
  • Assumed every structure on Little Cumberland Island was inhabited 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year.
  • Assumed all population on Little Cumberland Island were located outside, in the open air, not inside any structure.
  • Assumed a rocket failure rate 3x greater than what is required under the FAA’s regulations and 6-10 times higher than the failure rate of flight proven U.S. rockets.

In fact, Spaceport Camden has previously discussed the analysis of the overflight exclusion zone (OEZ) as part of its blog post The ABCs of OEZs: Understanding Spaceport Camden’s Safety Criteria published on May 14, 2018. 

Spaceport Camden is confident it meets the requirements of Part 420 to obtain a Launch Site Operator License.  Spaceport Camden is also confident that potential future customers can obtain a launch license for a variety of trajectories from the proposed site as required under Part 415 and 417 of the FAA’s regulations.

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  1. Oh you mean the safety analysis that Steve Howard and Andrew Nelson have been frantically trying to keep secret from the public but then released as part of a Georgia Open Records Act request? Sorry, it doesn’t “unequivocally” prove anything. You claim all sorts of “conservative” assumptions, but since you have changed your story on proposed trajectories every time you’ve encountered any public resistance, no one has any reason to accept any analysis until you lay everything on the table in a public meeting. What this analysis really shows is that Camden County cannot possibly meet the Part 417 criteria for actually launching a rocket from the site. Do you hear me County Commissioners? You may get a launch site operator license, but the FAA will never license an actual launch. Steve Howard will have saddled the county with a highly contaminated site of no use to anyone.


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