By Walter Jones –
ATLANTA – A pair of consultants told legislators Tuesday the growing commercial-space industry offers economic opportunity to Georgia.
New companies are forming every few months to launch rockets or build satellites, and they could be recruited to fly out of a site in Georgia, according to Jim Muncy, an independent consultant and senior policy advisor to the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
“You’re seeing these new companies coming into being, and that is the initial market opportunity for Camden,” he said.
His comments came during a meeting of the House Science and Technology Committee getting briefed about efforts of the Camden County Commission to develop a commercial spaceport on 12,000 vacant acres in an unused industrial site.
Chairman Ed Setzler scheduled the session to educate legislators on what he termed a major economic project for the state.
“I feel this is a project that is of the size and scope of the Savannah harbor deepening,” said Setzler, R-Acworth. “The potential here is of that scope.”
The whole state could benefit, according to Andrew Nelson, a consultant who is hired by the county, unlike Muncy.
“The opportunities and impact aren’t going to be only in Camden County. It’s going to be up in Northwest Georgia and all over,” Nelson said.
The consultants, and County Manager Steve Howard, answered questions from the committee members and tried to dispel objections. For example, Nelson said the noise 8 miles away would be similar to a lawnmower. And he said no one would have to move from their homes and no endangered animals would be at risk.
Howard said the committee is conducting a formal environmental-impact statement that will take months before its results can be submitted to the federal government as part of an application for a spaceport. At the same, time, he is in discussions with space-operating companies about their interest in investing in the site.
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