WOODBINE — Gov. Nathan Deal signed HB 1 into law Monday morning with a delegation of Camden County officials looking on.
The legislation, informally known as the Georgia Space Flight Act, limits the liability of space flight operators. The bill was said to be “must-pass” legislation to show Georgia is a competitive player in the commercial space industry.
“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,” Deal said.
Among those at the signing were representatives from the Camden County Commission, Camden Partnership, Camden County Joint Development Authority, Coastal Regional Commission and the Camden County Chamber of Commerce.
Camden County Administrator Steve Howard, who was in Atlanta for the signing, said the legislation will have an “immeasurable impact” on Spaceport Camden.
“I receive inquiries weekly from companies interested in launching from our site,” Howard said. “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.”
Camden County is already working with Vector, a small satellite launch company, to conduct a test launch this summer.
“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.”
The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Jason Spencer, R-Woodbine, said the signing was a “major win” for the state.
“Georgia is the number one state in the nation for business, and our state’s economic success is greatly attributed to legislation that has incentivized new industries to relocate and thrive within our state,” he said. “Like many pro-business measures that have spurred job growth and economic development, HB 1 will also encourage the expansion of new businesses and create employment opportunities in Georgia, especially in STEM fields.”
The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting an environmental assessment that will determine if a permit is granted to establish a spaceport in Camden County. That assessment is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“Commercial spaceflight is the next great space race,” Howard said. “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.”