Maine rocket company finds new host town for launch operations
Maine rocket company bluShift Aerospace
has announced the Down East community of Steuben is willing to host some of its operations, including offshore launches.
The company earlier wanted to use an island off Jonesport to launch its rockets, but the proposal ran into opposition, especially from local lobstermen.
bluShift President and CEO Sascha Deri says Steuben's town council is welcoming the company. Plans are for bluShift to do some rocket manufacturing there, as well as set up a "mission control" in town.
Launches would be done from a "lift boat," a barge-like vessel that would travel far enough offshore to minimize the sound of launches onshore and be able to avoid any areas deemed sensitive to wildlife.
Tony Atwater, who owns a construction business and a general store in Steuben, says he's been following Deri and bluShift for a decade.
"I think that's pretty cool what he's tryin to do. He's trying to go green and in the space industry," Atwater says.
After opposition emerged in Jonesport, he suggested to Deri that bluShift look at Steuben. Atwater, the father of a young son, says it would be great if his son could someday go to college, become and engineer and return to Maine for a high-paying space industry job.
"Instead of moving to Boston; instead of moving to California. Give these guys great-paying jobs right here."
bluShift launched its first rocket on a flight about a mile high in January 2021.
This year, it has begun testing a larger engine that could help power sub-orbital flights that could reach 200 to 250 miles high.
bluShift president Deri says the company would keep making some components, and the company's bio-fuel, in Brunswick.