LIMESTONE, Maine — Two months after making world history with the launch of the Stardust 1.0, a commercial rocket powered by a proprietary bio-derived fuel, bluShift Aerospace has plans to build three more rockets, one of which may launch from Limestone this summer.
The Stardust 2.0, an improved iteration of the first rocket but with the same amount of power, would be launched from the Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone — where the 1.0 made history — at the end of the summer, according to bluShift CEO Sascha Deri. The company’s ultimate goal is to help build the aerospace industry in the state. Deri said there is an estimated $69 billion market potential for nanosatellite launches over the next decade.
The summer launch could depend on whether the company garners enough customer interest for payloads on the rocket.
bluShift, based in Brunswick, is working with South African company XinaBox, which develops Lego-like electronic devices for elementary to high school students to put together for science experiments, and that could be launched to a mile up, or to a suborbital level, he said.
Besides XinaBox, Deri is working with the Maine Space Grant Consortium to interest Maine students and teachers in launching payloads at a relatively low cost, which could be subsidized by various funding sources.
Next year, bluShift hopes to create the Starless Rogue Beta — a rocket that will have the potential for space flight. The beta version would be launched next spring, but would be underpowered to meet FAA standards and reach approximately 30 to 40 kilometers — approximately 18-24 miles — in altitude. Then, in the summer of 2022, a full-powered version of the Starless Rogue will be launched into suborbital space.