Society Update

The society is building the organizational and financial infrastructure that will let us do some amazing things this year. Some of our plans include:

  • a combined membership billing system that automatically handles your National membership (if you want)
  • an advertising campaign to find new members
  • a campaign to convince lapsed members to rejoin
  • the SpaceUp conference in the fall

Management changes in Spaceport management

The Camden County Tribune and Georgian is reporting [Page 1A, Page 7A] that the Camden County Joint Development Authority voted unanimously to turn over negotiating and funding responsibilities to county officials. Citing budgetary limits and the scale of the project, Board Chairman John McDill said that, moving forward, a lot more work must be done — the second phase of environmental studies, engineering plans and bids, finalized agreements with landowners and companies and lastly the closure, development and leasing of the property. The board also voted to apply for $500,000 in funds from the OneGeorgia Authority to help defray the estimated $760,808 necessary for the Environmental Impact Statement.

Media update

Spaceport Georgia – Shawn T. Cruzen — Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
Profit in space? – Rick Badie – Atlanta Journal Constitution
South Georgia Needs Space – Michael Mealling – Oped – Atlanta Journal Constitution
Embrace the commercial space industry – Bob Scaringe – Oped – Atlanta Journal Constitution

NDIA meeting

Bob Scaringe and Bobby Braun presented an update on the proposed spaceport and the space industry in general to the Georgia chapter of the National Defense Industry Association on May 28th. Bob’s update included the market data and ROI justifications and closed with a short list of items that needed to be addressed to help make the bid competitive. That list included the need for a single state-level point of contact for the spaceport effort, making the bid competitive with Florida and Texas, and a state-wide space industry strategy. Bob also stressed calling directly on the 30-35 Tier I and II Space industry employers to get the GA story out, find out what other deals are on the table and get on their radar screens for future site selection.

The Q&A session ranged from whether alliances with neighboring states would make sense to why there seemed to be so little support at the state level.

Georgia Space Company Updates

ViaSat-2’s ‘First of its Kind’ Design Will Enable Broad Geographic Reach

“Satellite broadband services and hardware provider ViaSat Inc. on May 16 announced that its $625 million ViaSat-2 Ka-band satellite system will use a Boeing-built satellite employing a design that has never been seen before.”

Spaceworks Enterprises

SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) will host an outreach program for local area high school students this summer. ASTRO, or Aerospace Summer Training & Research Opportunity, is a project-oriented experience during which students work in teams to solve an Aerospace Engineering design problem. ASTRO will take place in two, three-week long sessions (June 3-21 and July 8-26) with 5 students in each session.

No great summer program is complete without a few fun activities along the way. Student participants in ASTRO will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with members of the SEI staff about their college and career choices, enjoy a pizza and movie day, and even play a little Staff vs. ASTRO Foosball. SEI hopes to further develop the interest these students have shown in the Aerospace Engineering field through this challenging yet fun-filled experience. Further updates will be provided once the program is underway. Applications for ASTRO are closed.

XCOR at AIAA

The Atlanta chapter of AIAA held its last meeting before summer break on May 21 in Marietta. Alex Lanzendorf and Greg Claxton of XCOR Aerospace were the guest speakers.

Alex and Greg discussed the history and current status of XCOR. The company was founded in Mojave, California, is creating a new Research and Development Flight Test Center in Midland, Texas, and is establishing suborbital flight operations bases at Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Hato International Airport in Curacao. XCOR has expressed interest in operating from Spaceport Georgia if a suitable runway is developed and a spaceport license established.

XCOR is building Lynx, a piloted, two-seat, fully reusable liquid rocket-powered vehicle that takes off and lands horizontally. The Lynx family of vehicles serves three primary missions depending on their specific type including: private spaceflight, research & scientific missions, and micro satellite launch. Lynx production models are designed to be robust, multi-mission (research / scientific or private spaceflight) commercial vehicles capable of flying to 100+ km in altitude up to four times per day.

Greg, the company’s director of retail sales, discussed the options available to spaceflight participants (starting at $95,000) or to companies and governments who wish to wet-lease an entire vehicle. Alex, a design engineer who began his career as an intern at XCOR, went through a detailed breakdown of the Lynx subsystems currently under development, with plenty of photographs, movies, and “shop talk” about the challenges of building a reliable, reusable spaceship. Stephen Fleming (an XCOR director who lives in Atlanta) was in the audience, and answered a few questions about the company’s financing and business strategy. There were plenty of questions from the audience, and the meeting lasted until almost 10:00 pm.

Georgia Tech Hears Russian Meteor

How powerful was February’s meteor that crashed into Russia? Strong enough that its explosive entry into our atmosphere was detected almost 6,000 miles away in Lilburn, Ga., by infrasound sensors – a full 10 hours after the meteor’s explosion. A Georgia Tech researcher has modified the signals and made them audible, allowing audiences to “hear” what the meteor’s waves sounded like as they moved around the globe on February 15.

Columbus State University’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center (CCSSC)

CCSSC will be represented at the upcoming Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference, which begins Sunday in Broomfield, Colorado. CCSSC Assistant Director Mary Johnson will be participating in the XCOR Aerospace Provider Track. Ms. Johnson’s session component will highlight collaborative efforts to develop and implement STEM education and student experimental design programs around suborbital flight and XCOR Lynx payloads.

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