What is Spaceport Camden?

The County has presented to the public maps showing possible LDZ exclusion areas. We present maps showing much larger Launch Danger Zones. The difference is that the County maps show what might be the smallest possible LDZ profile that MIGHT be obtained, while our maps show actual LDZ profiles that have been used in recent commercial rocket launches from Kennedy Space Center and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spacecenter (MARS) by SpaceX and Orbital.

Kennedy SpaceX Launch June 28, 2015

The launch azimuth required for the SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station launched on June 28, 2015 could not have been achieved at Spaceport Camden. This is because the required LDZ would include populated areas of Jekyll Island. Additionally, the Brunswick Ship Channel would be closed for the entire duration of the   

Camden County's LDZ

Launch Danger Zones are a highly variable result of calculations and also on subjective judgement. For instance, for the first Delta III, evidence was presented that the Delta III was merely a modified Delta II. The Delta II was a well known rocket with very good reliability, being launched by a reliable company. So the Launch Danger Zone was designed like that of a Delta II. When the first Delta III failed on launch, a more restrictive Launch Hazard Area was required. Two of three Delta III rockets failed before the Delta III program was cancelled.

 

The Federal Government has the responsibility to protect the public for operations from its launch ranges, and for now, also for launches from private spaceports. The current standards on how many people you can kill (30 in a million) or impacts on Turtles, or Whales, and otherwise, are loosely based on the hazard to the public from experience based on aviation risk. This remains a disputed standard in the industry considering that many space launchs, unlike airplanes, are 1st time or early life cycle flights testing new technology. That is why all existing commercial vertical launch spaceports are located directly shoreside and have never been allowed to fly over private property or people, even if they are on a boat 30 miles offshore or 600 miles downrange.

 

It is likely that the LDZ presented by the County is based on the MINIMUM overflight clearances that may be possible for some undefined rocket. 

 

Note that the County maps show a 4 mile wide Danger Zone surrounding the Launch Pad; the Union Carbide Hazardous Waste Landfill falls within this zone.

SpaceX Falcon 9 September 7, 2014

The LDZ for this actual launch of an AsiaSat satellite on a SpaceX Falcon-9 required an LDZ measuring about 22 NM (25 miles) at it's baseline (approximately perpendicular to the flight trajectory  and centered on the launch pad. The LDZ extended more than 80 NM (92 miles) into the Atlantic. Because it represents a typical mission, this is the profile this site has used for LDZ overlays at Spaceport Camden. On the linked item, note that the launch time was scheduled between 12:05AM and 4:19AM. 

Wallops Antares Launch to ISS July 2014

This launch of an Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket carried 3,668 of supplies to the International Space Station. It was one of 4 successful launches prior to the launch explosion of the 5th flight on October 28, 2014. The LDZ measured 34 miles into the Atlantic and 52 miles at its widest offshore. Were this same LDZ overlayed on Camden Spaceport, it would cover parts of Brunswick, all of Jekyll Island, all of Cumberland Island, all of Kings Bay, and all of St. Marys. However, this LDZ would never be permitted for Spaceport Camden because of dense populations and the Sub Base. If such a large LDZ was required for safety at Wallops Flight Facility, how can a smaller zone be applied for the same rocket at Camden? Note in the linked document that this LDZ warning applied for 4 hours each day from July 11 to July 17. The launch actually occurred on July 13, 2014. The LDZ area is defined by cryptic latitude and longitude coordinates requiring a GPS to decode.

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