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Updated: December 11, 2023 Focus on Manufacturing

Aerospace startup aims to launch manufacturing at Loring in late 2024

Provided RENDERING / HYPERSPACE PROPULSION INC. Leaving on a spaceplane: HyperSpace Propulsion Inc. aims to revolutionize global air travel with hypersonic aircraft to be built at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

HyperSpace Propulsion Inc., a Portland-based aerospace startup that’s setting out to revolutionize global air travel, aims to get off the ground starting next year at the former Loring Air Force Base in northern Limestone.

The company, led by Richard H. Lugg, recently signed a letter of intent for a contract with Green 4 Maine LLC, a development company at Loring, to establish a manufacturing, operations and space flight center at the Loring Arch Hangar by late 2024.

Lugg, who resides in Cape Elizabeth, said his company aims to create more than $1 billion in revenue through 2025 and more than 400 jobs. Workers will build hypersonic aircraft branded as SpaceStar that will be capable of flying anywhere in the world in under two hours.

“We are the first and only spaceplane company program on the planet with single-stage-to-orbit propulsion and spacecraft design, engineering and planned manufacturing capabilities to get there,” notes Lugg, who projects that his company will bring the cost of space transport down from $2,500 per pound to $250 per pound. “It will create a whole new space industry and remove the bottleneck of space access that exists today.”

Lugg, a 35-year aerospace and defense industry veteran, notes that while Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocketry firm flies once every six to eight weeks, HyperSpace Propulsion plans to fly from Loring to orbit up to six times daily.

“We will create the vision and pathway to build the multitrillion-dollar space economy using spaceplanes, not rockets, to get there,” Lugg says, estimating the global spaceplane market to reach around $1.4 trillion in the next eight to 10 years and $3.5 trillion by 2040.

As HyperSpace Propulsion gears up for Loring, the company is actively raising capital, with $1 million raised so far and $847 million in expected grant funding from NASA. The company anticipates investing $5 million to $7 million into renovating the Arch Hangar, which was built during the Cold War era and has sat vacant for decades.

As for the long-term plan to create 400-plus jobs in northern Maine, Lugg said his goal is to reach the first 100 hires by late 2025 or early 2026.

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