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Maine rocket company says its next launch may be from a Down East island

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

Maine-based rocket company BluShift Aerospace says it has located an island launch site for its planned, larger rockets.

BluShift successfully launched its first rocket in January from the former Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine. But that rocket, named Stardust, only climbed about a mile high before its booster and payload parachuted back to the ground, still within the boundaries of the former air force base.

BluShift's planned second rocket, called "Starless Rogue," is to travel at least 62 miles high on its first test flight, to the edge of space on a suborbital flight. For safety reasons, that required a launch over water.

At an online investor conference Wednesday, BluShift Chief Executive Officer Sascha Deri, said he's found an island off the coast of Washington County. He said the property's owner, and local officials, who Deri wasn't yet ready to name, have been very enthusiastic and "welcoming," about the prospect of hosting the launch site.

BluShift technicians are now working on a new, larger engine to power "Starless Rogue," and plan to begin testing the engine in November near their headquarters at Brunswick Landing.

Deri plans to launch a new round of fundraising to build the facilities needed at the island launch site. He says BluShift is aiming for next summer for the first launch of the completed rocket.

Corrected: October 8, 2021 at 7:50 AM EDT
This piece originally identified BluShift's first rocket as Red Dawn. It was Stardust.