The Problems

Spaceport Camden

In complete disregard for the Cumberland Island National Seashore, Camden County, Georgia, is aspiring to establish a non-federal launch site 5 miles inland from Cumberland Island. Camden County has entered into an Option Agreement with Union Carbide Corporation that grants Camden County the option to purchase an almost 4,000-acre property for $4,500,000.  An additional $6,000,000 in taxpayer funds has been committed to the proposed spaceport.

Camden County has only publicly released one proposed azimuth (direction) for launches from the proposed spaceport. The FAA requires that the launch hazard area be completely evacuated of all but participating personnel to avoid loss of life in the event a launch failure (otherwise known as an exploding rocket).

Camden County

Closing and Evacuation of Cumberland Island National Seashore

Each launch on this azimuth will require the evacuation of a large portion of the Cumberland Island National Seashore. The National Park Service has expressed concern over this fact and the impact that such evacuations will have on the operation of the National Seashore and its thousands of visitors. These concerns as well as others are summarized in the National Park Service’s scoping letter to the FAA.

Fire Risk with No Emergency Services on Cumberland Island National Seashore

1 in 20 rockets blow up and that usually happens within the first two minutes of launch. In mere seconds, a flaming piece of falling debris would be catastrophic to the Seashore that is densely covered with highly flammable natural fuel (vegetation). There is no fire department or fire services on Cumberland Island or Little Cumberland Island.


Outrageous Environmental Contamination

The site for the proposed spaceport is very heavily contaminated, is on the Satilla River waterfront, and is owned by Union Carbide Corporation. The 1971 Thiokol disaster occurred on this property. The known contamination includes munitions waste, unexploded ordnance, and pesticide waste. With each vibration from a launch, groundwater, soil, and waterway contamination is likely. Due to being heavily contaminated with hazardous materials it is subject to an Environmental Covenant with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. The site includes a 58.16-acre toxic landfill, in addition to the massive widespread contamination, that requires close monitoring and remediation to ensure that it its contents do not make their way into water sources.

Photo: One Hundred Miles

Endangered Species at Risk

Within the boundaries of the Cumberland Island National Seashore is the longest running loggerhead turtle project in the world. Founded in 1964, this conservation endeavor still collects data vital to the preservation of the species. In Georgia, 25% of loggerhead nests occur on Cumberland Island.  Six species of federally protected migratory birds and shorebirds including: Bald eagles, Piping plovers, Wood storks.  Marine endangered species in area include:

  • Loggerhead sea turtle
  • Green sea turtles
  • Leatherback sea turtles
  • Kemp’s ridley sea turtles
  • North Atlantic right whales calving in Georgia waters
  • Humpback whales during migration
  • West Indian manatees
Camden County

Private Property Rights

Launches from Spaceport Camden will also require private property owners on Cumberland Island and Little Cumberland Island to evacuate their personal property and relinquish the right to remain in their homes. This would be deemed a taking of private property, and according to the Georgia constitution, private property can’t be taken to accommodate a commercial interest. Camden County has offered no explanation as to how they intend to deprive private citizens of their property rights in order to clear the required launch hazard areas.