Georgia Tech Did Not Launch At Spaceport Camden

I wish I had attended Georgia Tech after graduating from Atlanta’s Grady High School in 1966. I might have gone on to be a rocket scientist and engineer like members of the team that just launched an experimental rocket in Camden County. Their roll control device looks promising. It's a great design and engineering achievement to have accomplished while in college. I'm sure they'll be successful where ever their careers take them.

But make no mistake about it, the Georgia Tech rocketeers did not launch from the proposed Spaceport Camden. The rocket test was actually conducted on the Bayer property that is not part of Camden’s Spaceport Site Operator’s License application to the FAA. The rocket was not launched from the Union Carbide property that is the subject of the Environmental Impact Statement that's been paused since October, 2018 and that Camden County officials have spent $6.5 million pursuing for almost four years.

In image 1, the yellow line delineates the Bayer site from the Union Carbide (future spaceport?) site located to the north:

The Red rocket marks the Georgia Tech launch position which is deep in the Bayer property. The purple area is the Union Carbide hazardous landfill. The small clearing above the “b” in “Carbide” is where a single Thiokol rocket engine test took place in March 1965. At various times, Spaceport Camden promoters have misleadingly called that test a “rocket launch.” Vector's amateur rocket launch in 2017 was also conducted from the Bayer site. NASA never considered the site for the Apollo program.

 

Image 2 is a clip from a video taken at the moment of the Georgia Tech rocket launch (courtesy of the Spaceport Camden Facebook page):

It took less than 20 minutes to identify the exact launch site on Google Earth shown in Image 3:

There are unique identifiers at the launch site that are found only at this exact spot on the Bayer property. Georgia Tech’s rocket, no matter its success, did not launch from the property Camden County has spent more than $6.5 million chasing a spaceport license.

 

This may be a small point to some, but it represents a much larger truth about the hype from Spaceport Camden promoters. Steve Howard, our Commissioners, and their lackeys cannot even tell the simple, straight truth about where a student rocket test takes place. Everything about Spaceport Camden is seen and told through the lens of public relations hype.

Even the County’s $7,000 a month public relations guy had to hedge in the County’s official announcement. Was it “at” or “Around” the future spaceport site? 

The Tribune & Georgian, trusting on face-value what it’s sent from Camden’s PR staff, explained in a front-page story that the launch would be entirely within the Union Carbide site:

It’s a shame that Spaceport Camden promoters and our elected officials will use earnest Georgia Tech students to promote their endlessly expensive and ever-morphing spaceport agenda. When will the politicians tell us how much the spaceport will cost and how taxpayers can ever break-even?

Can they tell the truth? Will they ever stop misleading us?