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Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 2:55pm

Camden County Wants A Spaceport

Updated: 2 years ago.
Space Launch Complex 40 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida comes alive as the Merlin engines ignite under the Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon capsule to orbit. Liftoff was at 8:35 p.m. EDT. Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, built both the rocket and capsule for NASA's first Commercial Resupply Services, or CRS-1, mission to the International Space Station. (photo NASA)

Officials in Southeast Georgia's Camden County want to turn an old rocket test and industrial site into Georgia's first spaceport.

The area's development board sees commercial potential in NASA's privatization of many functions.

The federal space agency is in the midst of a massive reorganization that gets the government out of a lot of space business.

St. Mary's Mayor Bill DeLoughy says the area development board wants to market the site to space industry firms looking for opportunities.

"It seems like a very growing business," DeLoughey says. "There are supposedly 10 of these sites around but there is only one or two that are active. I think that we have a lot to offer there."

Camden County is negotiating terms to buy a remote 4000 acre site where rocket manufacturer Thiokol once tested its vehicles.

DeLoughy says that opens opportunities for private firms, but nothing is set in stone.

"I know there are a lot of people who have expressed interest in it," DeLoughy says. "Until we get something in writing, some kind of commitment, it's still people talking saying they're interested. But again, you don't know until you have some money in the pocket."

Chemical maker Union Carbide now owns the land.

County officials plan to market the site as a spaceport with potential for a long runway and rocket testing permits.

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