When it comes to spaceflight, Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas are known throughout the world. Even Vandenberg Air Force Base in California may ring a bell for casual spaceflight followers. But what about Georgia?
With the passage and signing of the Georgia Space Flight Act (Georgia House Bill 1 or HB 1) into law this year, and the subsequent low-altitude suborbital launch of space company Vector’s Vector-R rocket from the coastal site in Camden County, Georgia, state and local politicians hope to make the Peach State an important part of the burgeoning commercial spaceflight industry.
Though it may appear Georgia is a latecomer to the spaceflight game, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the state has a long history with our nation’s spacefaring endeavors and can even count a moonwalker amongst the alumni of one of its universities.
Indeed, the Georgia Institute of Technology - better known as Georgia Tech - ranks in the top 10 colleges in the United States with astronaut alumni. The university is tied for second-most of any public university.
Beyond the state’s ability to produce those with “the right stuff,” Georgia’s industry has played a supporting role in producing many of our nation’s prominent launch vehicles. From metropolitan Atlanta to Augusta and Valdosta, Georgia manufacturers have been instrumental in NASA’s programs, both past and upcoming.
So while some may feel Georgia is better known for our air, sea, and land transportation expertise, one can’t deny the state is poised to add suborbital and orbital operations to its portfolio. Why? Because Georgia knows space.