FAA Annual Launch Forecasts
2015 US Commercial Space Forecast
The Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation and the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee have prepared the Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts of global demand for commercial space launch services each year since 1993.
Each study looks forward for the next 10 years so it we are able to determine how accurate their forecasts have been. For the purposes of discussing Spaceport Camden, we have examined the reports starting with 2012 when the Spaceport Camden project gained momentum.
Current US Launch Capacity
Current US Commercial Launch Capacity is at least 116 launches per year. The average number of launches forecast is for about 30 per year through 2024.
However, many launch sites do not have active Commercial Launch licenses from the FAA due to lack of demand. For instance, the last commercial launch from Spaceport California was in 2011 and the last from Alaska's Pacific Space Complex was in 2014. No Commercial launches are licensed at either site in the foreseeable future. Only two launches are licensed in 2016 at MARS/Wallops. SpaceX's Boca Chica private launch site is not yet activated.
This table includes only Vertical Launch Sites which is the design proposed for Spaceport Camden. The 5 US-licensed Horizontal launch sites operate like airports and can accommodate multiple launches each day. There have been no commercial tourism launches from any US spaceport.
The expectation that Spaceport Camden could be successful when existing US launch facilities are dormant or under-utilized must be viewed as unrealistic. How can Spaceport Camden's supporters ignore these Facts?
Small Launch Vehicles - Non-Human Flight
A review of the Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) market is instructive about potential for Camden. Exhibit 1, (“Table 22”) is taken from the 2014 FFA Commercial Space Transportation Forecasts. A tendency in this market segment is for lots of deals to be signed, but most companies are small, have flown no missions, and all vehicles are in design, development or experimental stages.
Since the 2014 report was produced, the DARPA ALASA program was canceled in late 2015 after exploding on twice in ground tests; SOAR’s Operator/Owner is in financial trouble; and Super Strypi failed its first launch and appears to have been canceled. See our page on XCOR (link) about the struggles of that company. Virgin Galactic continues to develop their horizontal launch systems at factories in Mojave and Long Beach, California although Spaceport America in New Mexico was essentially built for them. Generation Orbit is a Georgia-based company but has no potential for Spaceport Camden since their system requires horizontal launching. They will launch from Cecil Field in Jacksonville.