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Updated: January 8, 2024 Economic Outlook

2024 Forecast: Awareness is building of Maine’s potential in the space industry

Provided Photo Terry Shehata, executive director of the Maine Space Corp.

Maine’s space industry is small but growing.

A supply chain of about 80 companies is small relative to other states, but expanding.

Companies interested in establishing a presence in Maine include Teledyne Technologies (NYSE: TDY), a California-based technology company that based its business development director for the Americas at Brunswick Landing and is interested in becoming an anchor tenant at the eventual Maine Space Complex, says Terry Shehata, executive director of the Maine Space Corp.

Research and development are strong. K-12 teachers are developing space curricula and promotion of opportunities and of crossovers with other industries such as marine, forestry and agriculture. But challenges remain such as education funding, improvements of business incentives and locations for incoming or new companies and, as with all industries, lack of affordable housing.

“I am cautiously optimistic,” Shehata says, thanks to developments such as this year’s first Maine Space Conference, and advancing plans for a Maine Space Complex by the new quasi-independent state entity, the Maine Space Corp.

Two years ago, “There were a lot of naysayers who didn’t believe Maine had the capability or the capacity to become involved in space activities,” he says.

Attitudes are changing as awareness builds of what Maine has to offer.

“The turning point was the space conference,” he says. “When we went into the conference, I was little concerned that we would not get enough people — ‘Why would I go to Maine to attend a space conference?’”

His concern was unnecessary. The event attracted over 315 attendees.

“Ultimately, we heard they were surprised that Maine has that capacity and is committed,” Shehata says. “We’ve received a lot of calls from companies interested in knowing what Maine has to offer.”

He adds, “Hopefully by the next conference, in October 2024, we’ll have a better handle on where we are.”

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