Could Maine Become A New Launch Site For Satellites?
Yup. It sounds like full-on science fiction, but Maine is being heavily considered as a new launch site for mini satellites. It wouldn't be a full-scale launch site, in that big rockets and that sort of thing won't be taking off here, but rather small vehicles carrying "nano-satellites" that aren't much bigger than your average toaster.
The project is being spearheaded by a group called the Maine Space Grant Consortium, has been doing some spec work into the project, and it's generated some interest at the highest levels. The Maine Technology Institute has already pledged $50,000 for a feasibility study, as well as NASA which has awarded an additional $88,000 to look into the project as well.
Maine isn't necessarily known as a pioneer in the tech sector of business, but folks involved with the project think there's a lot of potential. If it's green lighted, it would be spread across the state utilizing the old Loring Air Force Base in Limestone as the launch site, and the old Brunswick Naval Air Station would serve as mission control.
The MSGC also would love to collaborate with high school kids from around the state, not only as a great learning opportunity for students, but a chance for public and private agencies to work together, according to an article in the Bangor Daily News. Also, they hope that students can even build a lot of the nano satellites.
If it all goes through, it wouldn't be up and running for quite some time, with a final price tag of around $200 million. There should be a clear idea if it's feasible by this spring. In the meantime, I will be sure to keep you posted if Maine's cool-factor is about to go through the roof. I mean, c'mon....Satellites! Space! Science! Need I say more?