Prime location in the northeastern US, close to Europe and bordering Canada with diverse transportation infrastructure, dedicated and skilled workforce, and first-class innovation and R&D centers that make Maine an excellent spot for a global 21st-century aerospace industry.
Operated and managed by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, is Maine’s Center for Innovation and a progressive and innovative business campus located at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB), which was decommissioned in 2011. The 3,200-acre property is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, close to 2 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, and a world-class aviation complex that hosts hangar space, a runway, and rocket engine testing capabilities. It is also home to a small aviation and aerospace cluster on site. Brunswick Landing can meet the needs of businesses looking for a small, medium, and large industrial space, maintenance and repair facilities, and professionally appointed administrative offices. The campus includes various equipment lessees have access to and is optimized for composites and advanced materials, light manufacturing, aviation/aerospace, biotech/biomed, information technology, and renewable energy businesses. Shared manufacturing equipment includes a three-axis CNC router, 3D printer, plasma cutter, drill press, vertical & horizontal band saws, Mig Welder, and many other tools that are utilized by TechPlace tenants like a Rohner Oven (21’x15’8”x10’), Grieve Oven (4’x4’x3’), Spray Booth (24’x16’x8’8”), and Freezer (12’x12’x 8’). In just over a decade since decommissioning military operations, nearly 150 businesses and 2,600 workers now call Brunswick Landing home.
Home of the former site of the U.S. Air Force Base, the Centre is dedicated to economic development using the facilities of the former base. With aerospace-specific infrastructure on-site like large hangars, a runway that is the same size as Spaceport America’s at 12,000 feet by 300 feet, a turn-key data center space, fiber optic linkages to greater New England, manufacturing space, and office space, there is certainly much to offer to any company willing to work in a more remote and private environment. With a position along Maine’s fiber-optic line, low electromagnetic interference, and plenty of land available to use, perhaps the most friction-free use of Loring by the space industry could come in the form of Ground Station development and operations.
Maine is already home to a small but thriving space industry.
The aerospace industry in Maine comprises 85 companies that serve the aerospace industry exclusively or that serve the aerospace industry and other markets (non-exclusive). This collection of 85 aerospace industry participants employs ~5,000 workers.
The largest aerospace company in Maine is Raytheon subsidiary Pratt & Whitney, a Tier 1 manufacturer of jet engines and after-market service and repair in North Berwick. Pratt & Whitney employs approximately 2,100 workers in North Berwick. Another 36% of all aerospace industry companies are small to mid-sized machine shops serving multiple industries, including aerospace as tier 3 component suppliers. Maine’s companies show depth in machining and modest progress toward automated processes. Adjacent industries, such as defense and manufacturing, have capabilities transferable to the space sector and could support future industry growth. Many aerospace participant companies are not aerospace-focused but contribute to the aerospace value chain.
Maine is home to two launch systems designers, VALT Enterprises and BluShift Aerospace, who are developing micro-launch vehicles specifically for small satellite delivery into LEO. They have been recipients of various types of US Government funding, including prestigious SBIR awards, to continue R&D on their path toward commercialization. Although still under development, they are poised to become key contributors to the space economy with a competitive advantage in environmentally sustainable solutions. VALT focuses on hypersonic delivery systems and can deploy from a vertical or horizontal launch; bluShift is vertical only.
Fiber Materials Inc. (FMI) develops and manufactures high-temperature materials and carbon-reinforced composites for industrial, commercial, and aerospace applications. FMI fabricated the thermal protection system for the Mars 2020 transport/entry aeroshell and was recently awarded a $24 million contract from NASA to provide thermal protection systems (TPS) to support several emerging missions to Mars. As a recognized leader in the manufacture of high-temperature composite materials, FMI produces components and products that serve a range of applications from industrial insulation and friction hardware and from thermal protection systems to rocket motors to nose tips. FMI materials can be found inside industrial furnaces, at the National Air and Space Museum, and on the surface of Mars. Other companies participating in the space industry include Flagsuit LLC in Southwest Harbor, which provides advanced materials and textiles for spacesuits.
mWAVE, a medium-sized company, specializes in custom antennas used on satellites, bringing capabilities across many radio frequencies like KA bands, KU bands, X bands, U bands across many applications. Several companies specializing in ground stations and satellite management and control services have also expressed interest in establishing operations in Maine, building upon our legacy as home to the ground station for Telstar, the first US communications satellite launched in 1962. Not only does Maine have a legacy in space, but it also has the potential to thrive and grow with the industry as it expands in the future. With its component and chip focus, Texas Instruments contributes to the new space economy and has a presence in South Portland. VX Corp, a Kyocera subsidiary in Biddeford, is a global manufacturer of advanced electronic components including antennas. Comnav Engineering produces microwave filters for wireless communication and navigation systems in Portland. Last on the list is Garmin in Yarmouth, provides downstream global positioning data and devices to the consumer market. Cascon Inc is a custom componentry developer in Yarmouth, specializing in pumps.
Kennebec Technologies is a machining shop in Augusta. Southern Maine Specialties provides anodizing, electroplating, and metal finishing technologies. Hunting Dearborn provides drilling, boring, and other machining services in Fryeburg. Northwood Machine is a CNC machining shop in Thorndike. PTE Precision Machining is a full-service machining shop in Kittery. Numberall Stamp and Tool Company provides metal marking equipment for industries, primarily stamps that engrave serial, part numbers, etc., in Sangerville. Thermoformed Plastics of New England is a custom thermoforming company that offers complete design, prototyping, tooling, and production services in Biddeford.
Hanna Consultants uses analytics to assist with dispersion analyses in Kennebunkport. Maine Aerospace Consulting provides industry-relevant engineering consulting in Falmouth. Greisen Aerospace provides advanced lift, craning, and loading/staging services in Brunswick.