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Business and Economy

Bill To Build Complex With Space Launch Site In Maine Scheduled For Public Hearing Thursday


A bill scheduled for a public hearing Thursday would establish a council to figure out how Maine can build a complex that will include a launch site — to space.

Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows, of Manchester, introduced the bill. It would task the council with creating a plan to develop the complex and presenting it to the governor and a legislative committee by the end of 2021.

Sascha Deri is the CEO of Brunswick-based BluShift Aerospace, Inc. He says Maine is especially well-suited for this.

“Because the coast is facing due south, we can launch satellites due south over the poles without hitting other cities,” Deri says. “And it turns out that 50 percent of the market for launching these small satellites is to launch them in what are called polar orbits.”

The complex would focus on so-called "nanosatellites," which are generally less than about 20 lbs and can be used for a variety of functions.

“What we're talking about here is creating a launch facility to support small rockets like ours, which is really the new direction that the space industry is going into -- small, dedicated launch vehicles that are capable of building these small, tiny satellites really not much bigger than I can hold in my hand,” Deri says.

The bill's public hearing before the legislature's Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee will begin at 1 p.m. Thursday.