Maine is closer to launching its space program after Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill to create the Maine Space Port Corp., a law aimed at growing the state’s aerospace industry.
Mills signed the bill into law on April 19, creating a public-private partnership that would build launch sites, data networks and operations to send satellites into space, The Portland Press Herald reported Sunday.
Most of the work accomplished at the program will be through the creation of the Maine Space Complex which will be built at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station within the next decade. The complex will oversee three entities including a computer center and satellite launch and operations sites.
Terry Shehata, director of the Maine Space Grant Consortium, said the spaceport would be one of the first in the U.S. to launch satellites, conduct data analysis and provide education to students. The consortium is the NASA-funded nonprofit spearheading the spaceport complex.
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A study by the University of Southern Maine estimated that the space industry will bring thousands of jobs to Mainers while annually contributing about a billion dollars to the state’s economy.
The complex’s initial construction costs are between an estimated $50 million and $250 million. Shehata said that it will be funded through different investments from NASA federal economic recovery grants and the Maine Technology Institute.