AUGUSTA, Maine (Mattie Daughtry PR) — On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills signed into law a bill from Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick. LD 1923, “An Act To Establish the Maine Space Corporation,” will help Maine’s emerging aerospace industry, create high-paying jobs and grow the state’s economy.
“This is an effort years in the making, and I’m so excited to see this bill become law. The Maine Space Consortium will bring together business, research and state leaders, to help ensure Maine continues to be at the forefront of this industry,” said Sen. Daughtry. “I’m grateful to my colleagues for all of their work on this measure and crafting a Maine-based solution — and to Gov. Mills for signing this innovative and exciting bill into law.”
LD 1923 will create a public-private partnership to facilitate the growth of space and aerospace industries in Maine referred to as the Maine Space Complex. The Maine Space Complex will serve as a central hub for Maine’s space industry, facilitate data storage and analysis, promote research and development and bring jobs to Maine. Maine is poised to become a leader in small satellite launches because of its geographic location, strong STEM programs at universities, history of manufacturing and existing military-grade infrastructure such as the former Loring Airforce Base and Brunswick Landing.
“While it may sound far off, the space and aerospace economy presents a tremendous opportunity for Maine’s citizens, companies and communities,” said Prof. Ali Abedi of the University of Maine System, in testimony supporting LD 1923. “Increasingly, UMaine has become highly competitive in attracting federal investment, especially from NASA, to advance space knowledge and discovery, and grow our state’s STEM workforce and aerospace industry. In the past five years alone, NASA has awarded $11.6 million to UMaine faculty research.”
“To be clear, the Maine Space Complex is not about only launching small satellites on small rockets,” said Dr. Terry Shehata, of the Maine Space Grant Consortium, in testimony supporting the bill. “It is about engaging students, researchers, businesses, state and local governments, and communities across the three segments of the new space economy value chain and the underlying infrastructure needed to support these segments.”
“LD 1923 helps support Governor Mills’ 10-Year Strategic Plan with the goal of adding 75,000 new people to the workforce,” said Ben Lucas, of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “The establishment of the Maine Space Data and Advanced Analytics Center of Excellence and the Maine New Space Innovation Hub will attract people to come work in Maine. K-12 education in Maine will also play a critical role to promote STEM education to help meet the demands this new industry will have for jobs.”
The new law will support pre-existing businesses such as VALT Enterprises and bluShift. VALT Enterprises is a Maine business focused on the development of nanosatellites, and bluShift is an aerospace company that develops bio-derived fuels to launch small satellites into space. By creating the Maine Space Corporation, the state will be able to help facilitate relationships between companies like bluShift and VALT and attract new businesses here in Maine. The Maine Space Corporation, as outlined in LD 1923, will serve as a central hub for innovation and economic development in the aerospace and space industry in Maine.
LD 1923 will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature has adjourned sine die.