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This morning, before members of the Camden County Board of Commissioners, the Camden Partnership, the Joint Development Authority, the Coastal Regional Commission, and the Camden County Chamber of Commerce, Governor Nathan Deal signed HB 1.
Known informally as the “Georgia Space Flight Act,” HB 1 limits the liability of space flight operators launching tourists into space. However, HB 1 was seen as must pass legislation to show that Georgia is a competitive player in the commercial space industry.
Upon signing the legislation, Governor Deal stated: "For the last four years, numerous companies have found that Georgia is the best state in the nation to do business and we look forward to Spaceport Camden becoming the best place in the nation to launch a rocket."
Spaceport project lead and Camden County Administrator Steve Howard noted, "Commercial spaceflight is the next great space race. It is a $320 billion industry that offers tens of thousands of good, high paying jobs. By signing this legislation today, Governor Deal is sending a message to the global space industry that we are open for business. The passage of HB 1 by the General Assembly has already had immeasurable impact on Spaceport Camden. I receive inquiries weekly from companies interested in launching from our site. HB 1 put Georgia on the radar of the industry and Governor Deal’s signature only reinforces to those companies that Georgia wants their business.”
Camden County is already working closely with Vector, a small satellite launch company founded by veterans of SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas and Sea Launch. Vector’s family of small sat launch vehicles - Vector R (Rapid) and the Vector H (Heavy) – enable platforms and vehicles to access space at a price never before possible.
“The signing of HB 1 not only represents the huge strides taken in developing space flight legislation, but also demonstrates the viability of Spaceport Camden to support Vector’s goal of conducting hundreds of launches a year,” said Jim Cantrell, co-founder and CEO of Vector. “Vector is honored to make Camden County one of our homes for upcoming rocket launches, including our first sub-orbital test there this summer, making ours the first rocket launch out of this historic location, ever."
County Officials expect regulatory reviews to continue through 2017, but are hopeful Spaceport Camden will be a fully FAA licensed launch site by 2018.