Will the FAA Allow Dangerous Spaceport Camden?

July 3, 2019

Launches from Spaceport Camden will occur OVER civilian population and private property located just 4 to 10 miles near-downrange. Blue Dots on Camden County's map below are private homes located in the Launch Hazard Areas for a 100 degree trajectory. The OEZ is shown smaller than for any rocket the FAA has previously licensed.

 

 

The FAA, Air Force, and NASA have never allowed such risky launches. There are no trajectories that can avoid launching over civilians, private property or private homes. Additionally, launches will occur over Cumberland Island National Seashore's campsites and designated Wilderness Area where campers from all over the USA make reservations 6 months in advance. The FAA, Camden County, or the launch operator has no control over the number of private citizens who live or visit private property so there is no way they can calculate Maximum Probable Loss or Expected Casualties.

 

This project continues because the FAA failed to perform sufficient due diligence when advising Camden County it could consider a site license that launched over Cumberland and Little Cumberland Islands. Everything since has been an effort to coverup their initial consultation errors. For instance, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement depends on allowing civilians (called in the DEIS "Authorized Persons") to remain directly in the Launch Hazard Areas. The FAA has been forced to admit that they allowed "Authorized Persons" to be used in the DEIS even though there is no such terminology in FAA regulations. When a single boat miles offshore from KSC or Wallops can stop or delay a launch, how can the FAA consider launching over uncountable citizens who live even closer to the launch pad?

 

The FAA failed to perform the mandated supervision and oversight for the NEPA EIS. Close reading of the announcement shows that the LSOL is being considered in parallel with the EIS which was started in November 2015. The FAA has to obey the law, too, but that's not apparent when reading the DEIS that is full of errors (the DEIS claims that adjacent, environmentally-sensitive, State-owned coastal marshes can serve as launch pad safety buffers), omissions (they failed to study the consequences of a launch accident on near downrange populated areas or National Parkland), and fabrications (like Authorized Persons"). Many of the more than 15,000 public Comments sent to the FAA are posted HERE.

 

The FAA is setting a dangerous precedent for launch safety.

 

Does anyone at FAA/AST understand that Spaceport Camden looks a lot like the FAA's problems with 737Max?

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