WOODBINE — Officials with Vector Space Systems believe the company could invest up to $100 million to establish a commercial spaceport and assembly plant in Camden County.
The company launches small satellites into orbit on 50-foot rockets that cost much less than conventional spacecraft.
Camden County Administrator Steve Howard said the company believes the proposed site at the end of Harriett’s Bluff Road is ideal for launches.
“They’re very interested in Camden County and we’re very interested in them,” he said. “I do think they’re looking for an East Coast solution.”
One reason Howard finds Vector attractive is the smaller rockets don’t require the infrastructure necessary for larger rockets.
NASA tested solid rocket engines in the 1960s at the site. There are concrete pads, bunkers and other infrastructure at the site that could be used to launch Vector rockets.
“The small rocket is where a lot of innovation is going to happen,” Howard said. “We’re very interested in their model because they need little infrastructure.”
Besides launching rockets, the site could also be home to a research park, research and development projects and training facilities for private space operators. Company officials said as many as 200 people would work at the site. A study predicted a spaceport could create as many as 1,200 jobs.
Howard said all the old buildings have been demolished at the site, but the infrastructure is intact and ready to handle operations.
Other space-related companies have also expressed interest in the Camden site because it would be totally commercial and they would not have to schedule launches around government flights.
Another selling point is the skilled workforce at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
“This project is about high-paying jobs,” he said. “We look forward to seeing them manufacture here.”
An environmental assessment conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration is expected to be completed later this year. It will determine if the county gets a permit to establish a commercial spaceport.