Space grant consortium engages Maine in new space economy
$482k | Multiple Awards
projected high paying, credentialed jobs will be created in all counties by 2042
GDP projected to increase over 15 years
earned in Maine than average aerospace worker ($77,232 vs $45,370)
As part of the national network of 52 space grant consortia administered by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Maine Space Grant Consortium (MSGC) is on a mission to engage Maine in the new space economy.
In 2017, research from MSGC showed that Maine had the assets to become a leader in the fast-growing market of small satellite launches. Geographic location for polar orbits, coastline for vertical launches, physical assets, regional assets, a growing supply chain, Maine-based launch providers, and research and development assets were all resources that contributed to Maine’s capability.
By 2018, a meeting between stakeholders from private and public sectors was held to identify the best ways to engage Maine in this new space economy. Called the Maine Space Complex, the project’s vision was more than simply launching small satellites on small rockets– it must engage multiple audiences such as researchers, students, state and local governments, communities, and businesses. Additionally, the vision must span across three the value chain segments of the new space economy including the upstream segment (research, manufacturing, and ground systems), the downstream segment (space operations for products and services that depend on satellite technology), and the space-related segment (space products, services, and applications that uses satellite technology but doesn’t depend on it).
Thanks to financial support from MTI, MSGC was able to conduct market demand research to further study market interest in Maine. Results showed strong interest inside and outside of the state. Funding from MTI and the Economic Development Administration (EDA) enabled the development of a strategic plan which was submitted to the Governor and the Legislature in February 2022. As a result of the plan, the Governor signed into law in April 2022 a bill to establish the quasi-state body, the Maine Space Corporation, to manage the development and growth of the Maine Space Complex. As a follow-up to the strategic plan and with support from EDA and MTI, MSGC is conducting additional outreach to communities in Aroostook and Washington Counties, to start recruiting businesses, and develop and implement a workforce development plan to integrate companies in the space and advanced materials industries.
In 2022, a $283,740 award served as the required matching fund commitment for MSGC to win a $1.2 million award from the EDA that supports follow-up activities from the strategic plan. Once completed, the project will have a significant impact in Maine such as advancing long-term economic vitality and sustainability, attracting private investments, creating jobs, and strengthening the regional economy. By 2042, the economic impact from the Maine Space Complex will lead to the creation of 2,500 to 5,500 high paying, credentialed jobs in all counties.
Funding from partners like MTI is essential to expanding Maine’s capability in the new space economy, including space development and exploration. With this support, MSGC can continue to identify, research, implement, strengthen and advocate for activities that are crucial to building the research, developmental and educational aspects for engaging Maine in the new space economy, as well as space development and exploration.