proposed spaceport

Camden County Commissioner Chuck Clark, left, County Administrator Steve Howerd and Commission Chairman Jimmy Starliine stand next to a missile brought to the site of a proposed spaceport last week by Vector Space Systems for a mock launch demonstration.

submitted photo

WOODBINE — Officials with Vector Space Systems, a company that specializes in launching small satellites into orbit, toured the proposed Camden Spaceport site last week, and they didn’t come empty handed.

They brought a 43-foot tall rocket to the site to show Camden County officials how the company could quickly set up operations at the site at the end of Harriett’s Bluff Road, said Steve Howard, Camden County administrator.

“They wanted us to see a full-scale model,” Howard said.

Vector officials, including a team of engineers and some of the company’s top executives asked for a private tour of the facility to determine if the site would be suitable for launches. The company didn’t want a lot of attention during its visit.

“They wanted to keep everything confidential,” Howard said. “They didn’t want a lot of fanfare.”

Vector conducted a mock launch at the site during the visit to show county officials how it could be done without the expense of building a launch pad or a major investment in infrastructure at the site.

“They did a full demonstration of what a launch day would look like,” he said. “They don’t need a lot of infrastructure to show what they can do. Their goal is to be mobile.”

Howard said company officials were impressed with the site and its history testing rocket engines for NASA in the 1960s.

“Vector is an ideal partner for Spaceport Camden,” Howard said. “The small satellite market is already a $2.2 billion sector of the space economy and expected to grow to $5.3 billion over the next five years. Vector is a leader in this emerging market and we hope Camden County will be the home of not only Vector, but dozens of small satellite manufacturers, technology support providers, and sub component suppliers.”

Howard said he has been discussing the site with Vector officials for nearly a year. They were impressed with the tour and plan to return to the site this summer for another demonstration, Howard said.

“It was a great opportunity to showcase the site and Camden County,” Howard said. “We will continue to strengthen our relationship with Vector.”