The commercial space industry is an exciting and growing field. But the race for space should not put our national seashores at risk.

Over the last several years, NPCA has studied development proposals to build commercial spaceports adjacent to Canaveral National Seashore in Florida and Cumberland Island National Seashore in Georgia to determine how nearby rocket launches could harm these national parks. NPCA has serious concerns about locating commercial spaceports only a few miles from these public lands. Rockets that fly over federally protected areas could impair some of our nation’s most serene and unspoiled coastal areas.

The Federal Aviation Administration must carefully study which locations are appropriate for rocket launches, consider available alternatives, and determine how to protect nationally significant ecosystems and historic resources. The agency must fully understand any negative effects from construction, rocket launches and associated development before proceeding with any such projects. NPCA’s concerns include:

  • National seashores may be required to close and evacuate visitors during launches.
  • Rocket launches require the temporary restriction of air space, closure of navigable waterways and evacuation of residential areas, which would have a negative effect on seashore visitors.
  • Loud noise and bright lights can further harm the visitor experience and stress coastal wildlife, including loggerhead sea turtles, gopher tortoises, right whales, dolphins, manatees and shorebirds.
  • Rocket launch failures and unintended discharge of rocket fuel, debris and contaminants could create major safety concerns for park visitors and wildlife in these sensitive wetlands.
  • Each rocket launch requires one million gallons of water, a tremendous quantity which could impact drinking water supplies.
  • Launch discharges and debris could impair water quality.
  • Historic and cultural resources within parks could be damaged.

For the last several years, NPCA has been working to protect Canaveral National Seashore from proposed spaceport development. Recently, several private space companies have found more suitable sites, including the Kennedy Space Center. However, threats still remain for Canaveral.

NPCA is also currently working to understand adverse impacts associated with a possible launch site adjacent to Cumberland Island National Seashore. The Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating potential environmental effects of Spaceport Camden, a proposed commercial space launch site on 4,000 acres approximately 5 miles from the seashore. NPCA will continue to share its concerns with FAA during this process.

Effort-to-date

  • 352 Comments Sent to the FAA

    Jan 2016

    More than 350 NPCA supporters submitted comments with their concerns about building a commercial space launch site just five miles from Cumberland Island National Seashore.

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