CAMDEN COUNTY, Ga. – Gov. Nathan Deal signed the “Georgia Space Flight Act” on Monday, limiting the liability of space flight operators that are launching tourists into space.
The legislation was seen as a necessary step to show that Georgia is a competitive player in the commercial space industry.
"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, Gov. Deal is sending a message to the global space industry that we are open for business,” said Camden County Administrator and Spaceport Camden Project lead Steve Howard.
Howard said that after the general assembly passed HB 1, companies began contacting his office expressing interest in launching from Spaceport Camden.
“HB 1 put Georgia on the radar of the industry and Gov. Deal’s signature only reinforces to those companies that Georgia wants their business,” Howard said.
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, Georgia officials said.
“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.