Compare Trajectories

Can Spaceport Camden Be Safe and Competitive?

Camden County officials show a single trajectory over Cumberland and Little Cumberland. The unrealistically narrow trajectory is calculated in such a way that it passes over the least populated areas. But it still passes over private property, homes, Cumberland National Seashore and the Cumberland Wilderness Area. Even if this trajectory is legally possible, the spaceport will be economically unviable because it will have so few other needed trajectories.

 

For instance, the last 6 SpaceX launches from Kennedy/Canaveral used 6 very different trajectories because the target orbits were different. CRS-3, Orbcomm and Orbcomm-2 trajectories would have passed directly over Jekyll Island! In fact, the single trajectory provided by Camden officials for their spaceport is somewhat similar to only a single launch out of the more than 30 made from Kennedy by SpaceX and ULA over the past 3 years. The same is true for the Wallops Island, Virginia spaceport.

To avoid populated, private property, all Camden launches equivalent to Kennedy launch trajectories that launch to the Northeast will have to launch on their reciprocal azimuths to the Southeast. For instance, SpaceX CRS-8 to the International Space Station launched to 42.76 degrees which is impossible at Camden because the Launch Danger Zone would include southern Jekyll Island and all of Little Cumberland Island. The reciprocal azimuth is 137.24 degrees. However, the maximum legal azimuth available is 121 degrees which would have eliminated Camden for CRS-8. In fact, finding a LEGAL launch trajectory for most equivalent Kennedy launches is almost impossible.

 

Does the County not understand that commercial launches will need many trajectories; or they are using the "Look! Squirrel!" method of distracting the public from the extent and seriousness of the impacts that will result if the spaceport is to be commercially viable?

 

Considering that the Spaceport Camden website clearly says that they can provide "direct access to an orbital inclination as large as any launch site in the United States", therefore matching orbits equivalent to Kennedy's, "without the addition of costly propulsive maneuvers to change the orbital plane", it seems like the opposition is just taking the County at their word for what will really happen. There will have to be more than one trajectory. Perhaps that is why the County is refusing to reveal any information about their Hazard Analysis by rejecting requests made under the Georgia Open Records Act. 

 

Contrary to the County's simple solution of 'just counting houses', Georgia Law and our State Constitution prevent the County from taking any private owners' right to peaceful enjoyment of their properties for commercial reasons. It would be like a mining company making people evacuate their homes every time they blast.

 

And finally, NEVER in the 60+ years of rocket launches in the US have they been launched over populated, private property. For the first time ever, the FAA will have to approve launches over private property, force people to leave their homes, and evacuate a National Park, all for a private business.

 

It is a complicated issue and deserves honest, open discussion.
 

Why is Camden County showing only a single trajectory when they claim that they can match Kennedy/Canaveral?

 

Why is Camden County's Launch Danger Zone much more narrow than any used at Kennedy/Canaveral?

Direct Quotes from Spaceport Camden Website:

The limit for launch azimuths to the Southeast is 121 degrees determined by a trajectory that does not pass over the Bahamas, Caribbean Island or South America. Additional restraints are placed on the the trajectory because the Launch Danger Zone also cannot include populated areas or Kings Bay Sub Base.

The limit for launch azimuths to the Northeast is about 48 degrees determined by a trajectory that does not pass over the Jekyll Island, Sea Island, Cape Hatteras or the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Additional restraints are placed on the the trajectory because the Launch Danger Zone also cannot include populated areas.