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Maine's bluShift Aerospace Raises More Than $200,000 In Crowd-Sourcing Campaign

bluShift Aerospace
bluShift Aerospace's Stardust 1.0 rocket, launched in Feb. 2021.

Maine rocket company bluShift Aerospace says it has raised more than $200,000 in the first phase of a crowd-sourcing campaign.

Company founder and chief executive Sascha Deri says positive reaction to the company's first launch last January convinced him to avoid big venture capital donors, for now.

"The fundamental reason why we really like this concept of crowd equity funding is that it really allows us to keep this company in Maine and maintain control over it," he says. "By the time you get to the end, especially something that's so expensive as rocket development, by the time you get through those rounds, you end up not being an owner, and there's a very heavy push, especially in the aerospace industry, to sell your company off to a really large defense company."

Deri says, after its first, successful rocket launch last January, his email inbox started receiving messages every 5-8 minutes.

"At first it was sort of funny, and then it became — it was a level of awe," he says.

Deri says the message writers all wanted to know how to invest in the company. He says bluShift is trying to raise just over $1 million. That money would let them develop their next, more powerful rocket engine.

That engine, powered by bluShift's bio-derived fuel, is to be launched on two test flights next year. Deri says he also needs to find a location on the coast of Maine, away from homes or businesses, to serve as a launch site.