Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Considers Building Spaceport; State Finds Interest in Site Where Rockets Have Been Tested Before

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Considers Building Spaceport; State Finds Interest in Site Where Rockets Have Been Tested Before

Article excerpt

Byline: Terry Dickson

The Camden County Joint Development Authority is exploring building an "aero-spaceport'' facility in the county to bring in new jobs and to move the troublesome St. Marys Airport away from a Navy sub base.

The authority board authorized its chairman, John McDill, to enter into an agreement with Union Carbide, owner of 4,000 acres of former industrial property, and for its staff to begin obtaining the remote site and necessary permits.

According to the authority, the state has found interest in the site where rockets have been tested before.

"The Georgia Department of Economic Development has been exploring the market potential for commercial space activity at the site and has received significant industry interest,'' the development authority said.

The development authority characterized the site as remote and says it offers the potential for a longer runway and more long-term economic development than other sites considered for the relocation.

It has a former private airfield and a rocket testing facility along the alternate Intracoastal Waterway where rockets were barged and tested in the past, the airport authority said.

Union Camp formerly operated a facility at Harrietts Bluff at the end of Union Camp Road west of Woodbine. Thiokol, which produced rockets for NASA, also had a plant there.

Kingsland Mayor Kenneth Smith said he used to go to the Thiokol facility with his father who had a contract to service Thiokol's vehicles.

"It was designed to test rocket motors. It was an awesome plant,'' Smith said.

Thiokol dug a "humongous hole" out there to contain the rocket blast, but the company only tested one, he said.

The federal government's privatization of space functions and services opens the opportunity for Camden County to develop Georgia's first spaceport at the site, the development authority said. …

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