Transcript: Space4U podcast, Steve Howard

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

This is Rich Cooper with the Space Foundation, and this is the Space4U podcast. This is the Space Foundation’s podcast that tells the stories of the amazing people who contribute to today’s space community. Today, I’m joined with Steve Howard, the County Administrator, and project lead for Spaceport Camden.


As the project lead, Steve leads Spaceport Camden’s vision of developing a world-class spaceport through a public-private partnership that establishes Camden County, Georgia as the commercial space center of the United States due to its central location to several existing aerospace and high-tech centers.


Spaceport Camden is looking to serve as a hub for Southeast Georgia spaceport and more. Steve, thank you for joining us. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here today. Steve, I got to ask George is known for a lot of things. Coca-Cola, peanuts, football, but a spaceport. Help me understand why Camden, Georgia is doing a spaceport.


Well, I started my due diligence on this project I said the same. Well, I said, you know, I’ve heard the same thing, what you just said. And I thought why rockets? But what I discovered was in the 1960s, Camden County, Georgia inspired the region in the United States. The largest rocket engine was test fired in Camden County, Georgia actually had the proposed spaceport site.


Also Camden County, Georgia was also a finalist for NASA for the Apollo program. So pretty amazing. And that was not declassified until 2005. And a lot of times when I’m talking to folks, I say, what did Frank Sinatra and Camden County, Georgia have in common.


And, uh, typically, uh, of course I’m not in person in the studio today, uh, with an audience to be able to play the song that I play, Fly Me to the Moon. And most people giggle and laugh, but I tell them if I told you we shared the same stage, would I surprise even typically I would, but actually on the cover of Life Magazine, uh, the 1965 edition.


Uh, we’re on page 73, worldwide attention was made on Camden County. So we made history in the sixties. We were declared the gateway to space, uh, and newspaper articles. And we’re looking to retain that title in the 21st century again. Well, if Kevin had that heritage and obviously we know the Kennedy Space Center and, and Cape Canaveral ended up being there.


Can you give me a little bit of idea on why Camden did not become that center of gravity? Well, I think, you know, back then it was a federal led process and I think what’s so amazing now is it’s actually a private sector led process, meaning that you’re seeing the commercial space race now happen. It’s amazing.


I tell a story for a lot of folks. I never, I’ll never forget. I was sitting in Washington DC, probably about five years ago with SpaceX at the table with me. And I was asking about our launch site license. And what should we prepare for the future things we were looking at was actually a landing zone.


What was something SpaceX actually initiated? Right? Discussions with us. And I said, what do you mean by a landing zone? And they said, we’re going to bring part of that rocket back and here we are, you know, five-plus years later, it’s like routine. So that’s, what’s happening. You’re seeing the commercial sector actually drive this.


So that’s what the beauty of the program is with Camden County is you have the space legacy, but without the legacy costs. So that’s why we’re seeing a lot of uh, private sector companies turning to Camden to look at Camden as a potential opportunity because they’re not saddled up alongside the federal side of it, which rightly so you know, national security knows interest should come first, but this’ll be an alternate option for the commercial sector to be able to have an alternate location on the East Coast to actually do that.


Most people don’t know this statistic either, which is interesting. Um, obviously. Most people might know that the closer you are to the equator, it’s less fuel more cargo. But if you’re to launch a rocket at Kennedy or Cape Canaveral, you get a boost of 914 miles per hour. If you launch that same rocket here at 894 miles per hour.


So very similar, very close to what you get here. As you would get at Kennedy, the differences, it’s a blank slate here, which is what you’re going to get here. And we think there’s an opportunity. For some of the commercial sector, as in the past, have had interest in continue to have interest in Camden County.


So we think there’s a great opportunity to be part of this next space rate based on the assets that not only Camden has at the state of Georgia has, if you look at Georgia as a whole, number one, tech supports aerospace parts. Obviously most people are familiar with Georgia Tech about 14 astronauts have graduated from Georgia Tech.


And if you look at this whole pipeline of military transition mean. Is this amazing opportunity to leverage this current stranded asset to become a national asset and be part of this next space race. So help our listeners understand where Camden County Georgia is and what it’s got around it that make it an ideal location.


As you just mentioned with the numbers there, that as far as speed, to get to orbit, to help us understand where is camp then and where we will find it and what it looks like. And. A little bit of its background. Sure. We’re on the Florida-Georgia border. We’re just North of Jacksonville, Florida, about 170 miles from Cape Canaveral.


Uh, when this site was actually looked at in the 1960s, it was chosen as a result. Of just that they wanted to be close, to be able to barge the rockets to Kennedy. And that’s why they chose this site as a strategic asset. And it remains that as such clearly, it was chosen for a reason back in the sixties that contributed to the NASA program, much like an opportunity to actually participate in the 21st century, a new space race.


But you have obviously the transportation opportunities. Um, here the corridor. Uh, we are adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and also surrounded by large end development buffer zone. As well as the southern latitude for launch of spacecraft to a wide range of orbits, it makes us extremely attractive, uh, to space companies.


So it’s a great opportunity for these companies. They actually fly due East, which maximize the velocity boost from the rotation of the earth, which enables more payload to reach orbit. So the same benefits you’d have from Kennedy to have here. Another, I think important point: Why would Camden do this? A lot of times we’re asked that as well.


There’s a great article that just came out on the Air Force magazine May 1, 2020 edition. And it talked about building the space range in the future, and it talks about Cape Canaveral running out of room. So we think we offer an alternative. We think there’s synergy. No, we will never be a Kennedy Center, but we think we have an opportunity actually to fill that gap and that opportunity for, you know, some of these companies that are coming along for research and development and emerging companies, an opportunity to have an alternate location, to be able to fulfill their destiny and be part of the next space race.


So you talked a little bit about filling that gap and addressing that gap. Help me understand what’s the vision for Spaceport Camden? Well, you know, the, what we envision the spaceport is really the catalyst. I tell a lot of, a lot of folks that the goal is to be an aerospace and high-tech hub for Southeast Georgia, because of where we’re centrally located.


We have the opportunity because of the existing aerospace and high-tech centers that we can actually connect that. A coordinated effort along the East Coast with other spaceports. And we’re confident that we can actually cut those costs to actually do that. So it’s more than that. It’s inspirational, uh, STEM programs.


If we look at all the opportunities, not only in Georgia, but on the whole East Coast, you know, what a unique, unique opportunity actually play an important role in that it inspires it’s inspirational. I mean, we just had an opportunity to see the, you know, the astronauts, um, launched on, on the Falcon 9, the Dragon to the International Space Station. And it’s an amazing opportunity when people get an opportunity to actually visually see that and touch them. And even the educational systems in Georgia, Georgia Tech actually participates, you know, with satellites, an opportunity for that to be on Georgia.


Soil is pretty, pretty amazing opportunity for us as well. So we, we see this more bigger than just. Launching rockets. It’s all of that residual around it. You know, innovation hub, you know, manufacturing, potential, you know, astronaut training to the commercial side of it, all of these opportunities to do some amazing things.


And of course we have, as I mentioned, the aerospace heritage, right. You know how we were considered as a launch site for the Apollo missions, but all of this opportunity for the top talent that we have the aerospace experience and transitioning military, what an opportunity, the potential to become an innovative hub and attract high-tech companies.


That’s what excites us. And that’s what motivates us. You talked about the other facilities, obviously you’ve got Kennedy, California has abandoned Byrd. Virginia has along the Eastern shore the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport or MARS is it’s called. How do you intend on competing against those facilities?


Obviously, as you mentioned, Canaveral and starting to run out of space and you’re having more companies looking for places, but you’re up against some established facilities there. How are you going to compete with them? Well, I think, you know, they say at best, I think my friends in Florida say it best.


And there’s an article where I actually spaced Florida road. And they said that, you know, what Georgia can offer is a clean slate where the appropriate requirements and NASA in the military will never impact the commercial schedule. And that it’s real, that that opportunity that we have in that, that can’t be accomplished at a, at a federal range.


So we think that we bring that to the table. So it is, is a different experience. That is a true commercial experience. But again, it’s also a blank slate. So that’s, what’s encouraging too, is we work with a lot of these companies. It’s pretty amazing what they’re trying to do. Be able to do rapid launching.


They need less infrastructure, so all of those we think make for a good fit for us. So we’re going to offer this what I’d call disruptive, uh, disruptive, uh, spaceport. It will be different, but a unique opportunity as a blank slate as well. So I think, you know, if you look at these other spaceports, they’ve recognized the options.


Can you do that? You know, Georgia has in Camden County, Georgia has, but I do feel that we have a unique opportunity with, uh, what’s going on in the new space race to actually compliment uh, what the other spaceports are doing and create that synergy. And I think there’s an opportunity for all of us and we hope to fill that gap that’s there.


And again, we’re focused on a variety of opportunities. You know, we think that I would love to see us keenly focused on research and development. You know, what an opportunity to do that, whether these companies are launching and in Florida or Virginia, we think we have an opportunity to actually do some of that activity here with the hope that they had also launched from here as well.


So I think we have all these unique. Assets that we can leverage currently that will actually make the whole space industry better. As a result of this leveraging this asset that we have here currently, that stranded, you talked about again, leveraging the asset and communities there, and lots of different communities look to various industries to help them spur job creation and economic growth.


And you certainly talked about wanting to have R&D occurring there. What made Camden consider commercial space? Well, you know, our first visit was by two tier-one companies, one being SpaceX and Blue Origin came to Camden County to evaluate Camden County. Unfortunately you know, the schedule of becoming a spaceport is, is challenging.


So it definitely is not a fast-track permitting process. It takes time. So part of it was industry coming to us. So we’ve never really marketed the spaceport, meaning, you know, going out after industry industry has come up the us to date. And once we had obviously Blue Origin and SpaceX coming to Camden County.


We knew at that point we had something pretty special and then others have continued to come, um, and evaluate and are standing ready, I think, uh, to see us get to the, to the licensing permitting conclusion. So, but also we looked at obviously the past the future, uh, the past and the future, um, and think that we’re at the right place at the right time.


Obviously we had the aerospace heritage. Um, also Georgia, if you look at attractiveness, they’re usually always in the top three. For, uh, the PWC analysis that’s conducted each year, this past year, they were ranked number two at one time. Number one. And if you look at other States on the East Coast, uh, there, they don’t rank in the top five — Georgia does. And also because of the number-one export is aerospace. You have all of this aerospace expertise currently in the state of Georgia, as well as, you know, the transitioning military, the top talent and other in the not only Georgia Tech. I typically talk about them a lot, but UGA, KSU, all of them have small set programs as well.


So what an opportunity. For all these university systems to participate in this innovation research park that compliments the spaceport. So I think with all of these assets, we have, uh, we can leverage all that and create something special and amazing, uh, that will compliment this new, next space race.


And I think will set Camden apart because of our geographic location, our orbiting capability. And this amazing asset that, uh, you know, made history in the sixties, declared the gateway to space, and we can declare that and retain that title again in the 21st century. So you talked a little bit about the complications that go into becoming a spaceport.


What is the process by which you become a spaceport? What does that entail? Well, there’s a licensing application process and really the four, the four pillars of that are our policy review onsite location, review environment review, and the safety review. And typically you’re, you’re, there’s a lot of focus on this environmental review, which is the process we’ve probably been engaged in for, I think going on probably about four-plus years at this point, give or take that’s challenging to get to the finish line on that process.


Uh, we’re now currently at T-minus two, there are two steps left in that process, which would be the final environmental impact statement released by the FAA. Followed by a record of decision. So once you’re able to accomplish that goal, if it’s favorable, uh, you can then, uh, complete because we’re doing that concurrently, the safety review launch site review and policy reviews, uh, at that point, the FAA can make a licensing determination.


We’re currently told at day 178 of 180. So that’s the other process period that you have to go through. So we’re, we’re hopeful and optimistic that in 2021, that that decision will be made. And at that point, we’ll be able to then move forward on marketing. This licensed spaceport to the commercial sector, who are the organizers and the energies that are driving this in Camden, you’ve mentioned Georgia tech and obviously every state wants to be a part of the new cutting-edge technology.


Certainly for job creation, economic growth, who’s driving this for Camden. Really, you know, this has been a division of the board of County commissioners. We inherited this project that from the joint development authority came and Kim joined development authority, uh, several years ago. And the board of commissioners was asked to take this project on which in turn the board asked me to.


Become the project lead on this and to get this to the conclusion, a finished line per se. Uh, so the board of commissioners is, is the funding agency at this point. And they see this as a strategic goal. Uh, we put out every year, a strategic plan that looks out. For example, our plan is 2020, 2025. Although with the 2035 and there’s four pillars in there.


And one of those is the completion of the spaceport as a top priority project, not only for economic development, but also to inspire the next generation. Of Georgians across the state that also play an important role. We think, uh, not only for Camden, but the coast, but the whole United States as a unique economic opportunity, but also lift up, uh, this whole coast of Georgia.


We’re also very blessed to have some amazing talent within Camden, um, as a result of a being home to Kings Bay Naval base. Uh, we have a lot of folks that, uh, ended up relocating here. By choice. And for example, one of them is General Bob Dyckman, retired general. He actually oversaw the, you know, he actually was over the Eastern range for the United States Air Force and was, has been involved with commercial space for over multiple decades and is a huge asset and ally, uh, to this project and feel very confident that, uh, you can safely launch small satellites rockets, which is rapidly becoming, we think the most important segment of this market.


So to have that talent here locally is just amazing as well. I think he was, I think he, he did go go about 20 something launches and adjourn his career. Uh, we also have vice Admiral Al Kaminsky, which was over to the, uh, fleet for, uh, the U.S. Navy — amazing talent, which also lives here as well as, uh, as an advisor. We also have a recently retired NASA executive as well, to be able to help and advise us as well.


So we have a lot of local talent. That’s really amazing to have that within your community. As well as technical experts around the country, that advises us as well. So it’s a definitely a technical, challenging project. I think we’ll be the first, I think I’ll be the first County administrator that’s actually led this type of a project, so it can be challenging, but you have to have subject matter experts to get.


You know, this kind of a project to the finish line, but as a board feels, it’s important. You have to have the courage to create change. And that’s what they’re doing. They’re planning for the future, but also really taking Camden County, which was a, one-time a mill town to a military community now to a high-tech community and leveraging all of these assets that we had in the past and bringing them back to life, uh, to do some amazing things for the next generation of the State of Georgia.


You mentioned early on in our conversation here, but your friends in Florida, I assume you’re talking about the good folks at space Florida, as well as down at the Cape Canaveral. I’m curious, has anybody else in the space community mentored you and Camden on this effort? And if so, what council have they offered to you as you and Camden set out on this journey?


I’m honored to be a part of the Commercial Space Flight Federation, uh, on the board of directors. Early on. I was asked to consider joining that, and that’s been amazing. That was actually as a result of a, of another spaceport that encouraged me to do that. So that allows for a lot of opportunities for networking, as well as having some one-on-one conversations.


And I’ve had the opportunity to reach out to other spaceports and have conversations. A good example is, uh, we’re looking to partner with Alaska. For example, we think that’s an opportunity for what we do here, you know, on the East Coast where they’re at doing polar, maybe there’s some synergies and opportunities to work together there too, as well.


And of course have lots of communications from time to time with Space Florida. And I’ve had the pleasure and honor of talking with them as well as advice that you, we can get from them, you know, from time to time, we’ve done that in the past as well as lessons learned. And that’s what we’re. Most interested in is the lessons learned.


And I think we have a great relationship with them. And I think they’d recognize, you know, our opportunity. I think they there’s lots of articles out there even I think in their annual report, they put some information in there about Camden County. In what Camden County could offer as well. So I think we have a good relationship.


I hope to strengthen that relationship as we move forward and the hope is to get our launch site license. And I think that’ll be another additional great opportunity to actually work together as their spaceport working groups, that Commercial Space Flight Federation has that we’re a part of. So the more we can learn from others, lessons learned that’s important.


Now it is a small community. With space as well as the space industry. So I think there’s a great opportunity to learn from each other, but also lift each other up and help each other, I think is to be more successful, I think is a good thing. When you talk about the various people that you work with, and certainly when you go to tell people in the small communities you talked about.


Hey, we’re going to put a spaceport in and they probably have immediately have images of rockets taking off. And now it’s SpaceX is returning there as they’re thinking, they’re going to have rockets landing in their back, or maybe they will, who knows? But I’m curious how you’re working with some of the other local state and federal authorities to make this spaceport happen.


Has it been a relationship of tremendous support or have you had to cajole and do a lot of convincing if people on board to see that Camden can be the future capital for commercial space. Yeah. I think anything, I think even myself, when I was asked to entertain, you know, leading this project, I had to begin to do my due diligence.


So, you know, tell me more what this makes sense. Okay. I think I told you my, my background a little bit with Florida, actually, I’m a Florida native as well as the Georgia roots. Uh, in Georgia, but understood the shuttle and things like that. But why Camden? You know, why, why does this make sense for Camden County to do this?


But you’ve got to tell the story about the, you know, the aerospace heritage, the aerospace experience, the transitioning military, the top talent we have now, and also. The opportunity for rural development, you know, but also, you know, that, you know, we export a lot of this talent now, maybe an opportunity to turn that, so that that talent could come here.


So I’ve been very blessed with when we have the opportunity to be one-on-one. I think in a few years back, we got full delegation support from every member of Congress, bipartisan support in the State of Georgia. Uh, we’ve been blessed to even a former associate administrator commercial space, Dr. George Neal to weigh in on the significance of the importance of Spaceport Camden as well, that, you know, that it’s important that the country needs more spaceports, um, as well, but also that they should be thought of as more than just lawn sites, that it’s important that they recognize that they serve as focal points in technology hubs.


So part of that is explaining that that it’s not about the rockets, although that’s part of it, that’s the catalyst, it’s all the opportunity around it. You know, the opportunity to inspire much like Kennedy said, I played that video a lot of times when I’m presenting that we don’t do it because it’s easy.


We do it because it’s hard. It brings out the best in us. And that’s the opportunity to be able to do that and to showcase, you know, Camden’s history in the sixties and where we’re at today in the 21st century. To be able to do that. And I was privileged to have Georgia Tech and they have a, uh, a little rocket group out of Georgia Tech that was able to launch a test rocket here on the proposal on site, and to watch them do that.


And it was amazing. And, uh, only if they said Steve, we could read about this and we could build things at Georgia Tech. We can, uh, learn about it. We can watch videos, we can do all this thing, but the opportunity to actually put hardware to work and actually see it actually work out at the site was amazing.


So that’s what it’s all about is to be able to do that. And this is a piece of that puzzle that we can actually solve and put together as a result of a spaceport, becoming a reality, like the Kennedy, a Wall of Silence. Spaceports the area that you’re proposing for the candidates spaceport. Is surrounded by protected conservation areas.


How does the Camden spaceport intend to address any environmental concerns from the public that the spaceport might have to deal with? That part of that is a real robust, the environmental impact statement. It looks at any and everything is it’s a very robust process. The good news is there’s over a 50-year history of nature and space coexisting.


If you look at Kennedy, it’s a wildlife sanctuary. And dangerous species exist there. I think when I was there the last time, the biggest eagle’s nest I’ve ever seen was there. Uh, they have about 5,000 turtlenecks. They have a seashore. Wallops same thing. You’ve got a seashore wildlife sanctuary. So there’s a way to ensure that coexists and actually what’s really good about a spaceport is eating a lot of buffer, which is what’s really good for the environment.


Um, it’s less really impact as a result of that. So yeah. You’re able to look at some best practices. You’re also able to look at other like spaceports and how they’ve been able to accomplish that as well. But it’s actually a really good fit. Um, as it reservoirs all of the space portrayal able to do things that typically wouldn’t do with other kinds of development projects, but clearly there’s precedence.


That’s been set. If you look at, uh, Kennedy and you look at Wallops and other spaceports nature and space can coexist and it’s amazing. Uh, the track record of that. So we expect that same type of harmony that Spaceport Camden look forward to the finalization of the environmental impact statement. And also, you know, you also got to think about, you know, because that we’re launching the amount of time that we’re launching them.


It’s about two and a half minutes per launch. We’re looking at 12 a year. If you look at, you know, those types of impacts of noises and things like that, when you evaluated, it’s pretty amazing. How little impact really occurs compared to other type of industries you could have had. So it really is a good, a good marriage and a good fit for the environment.


So how does the region take into this unique effort? Have the surrounding communities expressed any concerns? Again? You mentioned you’ve got a buffer area there, but the surrounding counties, I’m sure there’s a bit of pride. I’m sure there’s a little bit of competition. How they’ve responded to this effort.


I think we’ve had a pretty good response. This project is a long, it’s not a sprint. It is a marathon. So it takes a long time and you’ve got to continue to update where you’re at in the progress. And unfortunately you’re not in the lead is, you know, and some of these steps we don’t lead the environmental impact statement process.


That’s led totally by the FAA and the licensing process as well, where the applicant. But that does take a lot of communicating and continuing to try to do your best update, where you’re at, you know, in the process, uh, we have a coastal regional commission, which is made up of the 10 counties in our region, in 35 cities.


They all endorsed it. The project did a supporting resolution, which I thought was amazing, but I have got a lot of great compliments on. Recognizing that this is really not just a Camden project, but it’ll lift up the coast with an opportunity to do some amazing things that they’ll all benefit tourism.


For example, if they come to see a launch here, most likely these folks might head on to Savannah and spend the night there or so it’ll go to St. Simon’s Island and there are Jekyll Island. So we all benefit by that. This kind of opportunity, as well as, you know, I had one, uh, individual reach out to me and they said, they’d love to have their, their son come back to Camden.


Uh, he’s finishing up his aerospace degree. So you have those opportunities, you know, as well, as well as all the educational systems. On the coast and in the State of Georgia that actually could potentially, you know, come visit a functioning spaceport and actually see that, uh, upfront. Um, always tell people, knowledge is power applied.


Knowledge is life changing. That makes a big difference. Now when they read about space in a book, but they can actually interact uh, with an aerospace engineer or a rocket scientist that changes everything. And there was a company that came to Camden in the past, and that was one of the things I asked them if they would go into the school system and they did, it was amazing to watch those students get to interact with, you know, rocket scientists and companies that are going to launch stuff into space.


And that was pretty amazing. It’s life-changing, it makes a difference and it impacts some of these students. And that’s really what. The end of the day, it’s all about inspiring the next generation. Pull the threads. You talked about changing, and you’ve already touched on this a little bit here, but I still want to ask the question.


How do you expect the Camden spaceport to change the state of Georgia? Right now, currently Georgia is the number one state to do business, and we have no high rankings within aviation maintenance. We have PricewaterhouseCoopers named Georgia, I think the latest was number-two, and commercial aerospace operations, and aerospace operations that can be transferred, you know, to commercial space operations.


So you have all of these attributes that can then, can participate in and as a result of these being assets of Georgia, and also we already doing work with NASA, I think the last statistic I was for about $120, $121 billion there. And then you compound that with all of these, these institutions, you have already doing space related activities, engineering programs, which I think Georgia Tech was ranked number two.


The last time I looked for aerospace engineering school in the country, but you have all of that to have the ultimate laboratory. So again, you know, you could have aerospace engineering degrees, you could do a variety of these things, but to have your own spaceport and in build what I would envision it, you would design it, build it, launch it and land it, be able to do all of that in the state of Georgia would be very competitive that, uh, Georgia could participate in and, you know, have that top talent.


You may not be able to keep all of it, but you would have an avenue for them to actually stay at it. A great email a couple of weeks ago, from a transitioning military, that’s got a lot of experience really related to the space with the military and they would like to stay here. So you already have some of this talent here that you could actually keep here.


And that would be an amazing, amazing opportunity. Everything that’s associated with space comes with big risks. What are the greatest risks in creating a spaceport? You might hear me from time to time. I always say there’s risk in doing something, a risk and doing nothing. I think you’ve got to evaluate that, but I think you can’t be targeted for trying.


So I think there’s always, you know, risk and they say build it and they will come and you build it and they won’t come. So one of the things we’ve tried to do is just the opposite. Is get the launch site license and then go to market and to be able to put our business attractiveness case out there. And I think we have a really, really good case to showcase when you’re able to look at this asset that was declared the gateway to space in the sixties.


That still will be the same in the 21st century. We think it’s even better now, uh, the attributes that the site had and why they chose it. So I think, you know, there’s always risk and doing something risk and doing nothing. I think that we are at the right place at the right time, uh, with where we’re at, uh, everything is continues to be trending with commercial space and the excitement with space.


So I think, again, I think we’re at the right place at the right time with this project. So being at the right place at the right time, Five years from now. What’s the headline of the story about the Camden Spaceport five years from now would be, we’ve got our launch site license. We’ve been successful attracting companies creating this aerospace in high-tech hub for Southeast Georgia.


And that we become that catalyst project that ignited this opportunity. And we play a major role on. The next space race, and you’ll be begin to see other companies begin to migrate here. And, uh, I think you heard about Silicon Valley. We’ll have Silicon Marsh, we’ll call it here. We have a lot of that here in Camden and on this coast, but I think that’s what the headlines would read that, you know, Camden made history in the sixties and they’ve now retained that title of Gateway to Space.


I love that Silicon Marsh. That is, that’s a phrase I’ve not heard. So you may want to like patent and trademark that as quickly as you can. Well, I asked you about five years from now. What’s the 10 year from now headline? Well, I think we’re sustainable. The spaceport, we continue to see growth and I think there would be expansion of a variety of other sectors involved with the spaceport.


And I think that would be be an amazing opportunity and have educational campuses here connected with, I think that’d be exciting to see some of the university systems there has been interest already to date here. This innovation research park vision concept would be active and thriving and you have a whole synergy of opportunity for.


Aerospace and commercial space right here, you know, right here on the coast of Georgia and have, you know, the, you become the gateway to training of commercial space and all of those activities here. And we’re fully meeting that ultimate goal of designing it and building it, launching it and landing it right here on Georgia soil.


I have to tell you, this is fascinating to see the evolution of, and again, you used the phrase earlier, clean slate, uh, without any of the other sort of competing structures and constituencies, you are having the opportunity to start with a, uh, a clean whiteboard in sharing this idea. Steve, this is really impressive.


And I want to thank you for sharing that with us. Thank you so much for the opportunity. And, uh, we look forward to, in the future, seeing you at our first launch, I would love that having been to both Wallops and Kennedy for launches, I would love to have one more place on the East Coast to see something lift off.


Steve, thank you for your time. Thank you for your energy and what you are bringing to today’s space community. Very grateful for the story that you shared with us today about Spaceport Camden and where you guys will be going. Not only this year, but in the next five to 10 years of what we can expect to see.


And that concludes this episode of the Space4U podcast. Keep your eyes and ears open for more Space4U episodes by checking out our social media outlets on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. And of course our website at And don’t forget because of support like yours, it makes programs like Space4U and everything at the Space Foundation does possible.


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Space4U Podcast: Steve Howard – Spaceport Camden