The bill establishing Maine Space Corp. is enacted
Governor Janet Mills on Monday signed a bill that will help grow Maine’s budding aerospace economy and position the state as a leader in the fast-growing space industry.
The bill, LD 1923, establishes the Maine Space Corp., a public-private partnership responsible for building launch sites, data networks and support operations for sending small satellites into space, as well as developing new products from the data collected.
This work will be accomplished through the formation of the Maine Space Complex, which will oversee three companies: the Maine Space Data and Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence for computing; the Maine New Space Innovation Hub for vehicle manufacturing and ground control of satellite operations; and the Maine Launch Site and Services for launching nanosatellites into polar orbit.
LD 1923 was sponsored by Senator Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick.
“A new Maine space economy could contribute between $550 million and $1.1 billion per year to the state over the next 20 years, including between 2,800 and 5,500 well-paid jobs. Maine must be prepared for coordinated economic development,” Daughtry previously said. “By creating Space Corp., we will be ready to collaborate between existing and new industries to invest in Maine’s future. This proposal is specialized toward Maine’s needs and has the potential for Maine to fill the nanosatellite research and development niche to perform innovative work such as monitoring the impacts of climate change.
Industry members say Maine is poised to become a leader in small satellite launches due to its location, strong STEM programs at universities, manufacturing history and infrastructure existing military-grade guns at Brunswick Landing and the former Loring Air Force Base.
The complex, the first of its kind, would serve as a central hub for industry, facilitate data storage and analysis, research and development, support thousands of jobs in Maine, and bring millions, if not billion, to the state economy, according to proponents.
The Maine spaceport would be the only one in the country to offer all three components, said Terry Shehata, director of the Maine Space Grant Consortium. The consortium is a NASA-funded nonprofit organization that, among other things, encourages more students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, and leads efforts to bring the complex of the spaceport in Maine.
“To be clear, the Maine space complex is not just about launching small satellites on small rockets,” Shehata said in testimony supporting the bill. “It’s about engaging students, researchers, businesses, state and local governments, and communities in all three segments of the new space economy value chain and the underlying infrastructure needed to support these segments.”
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