Science | April 25, 2022 6:25 am

Michigan Explores the Idea of Becoming a Spaceflight Destination

An ambitious proposal is in the works

Lake Superior
Lake Superior could become a hub for spaceflight.
Andy Gnias, CC BY-SA 4.0

What’s it like to live in an era where private space travel is on the rise? One aspect of it involves getting familiar with a lot of new launch locations. There was once a time when Cape Canaveral was the prime location associated with sending people into space. Now, things are a bit more geographically dispersed — consider Virgin Galactic’s facility in New Mexico, for example.

And that’s not the only state looking to make its own impact on space exploration. A group called the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association (or M.A.M.A.) is looking to do something similar in the Great Lakes State — specifically, in close proximity to Lake Superior.

A new article by David Rompf at The New Yorker delves further into their plan, which would involve building out several space launch facilities around the state. Rompf’s article also includes comments from some Michigan residents who are opposed to the plan — some for reasons of noise, others due to concern over pollution in the lake.

As Rompf points out, this isn’t the first attempt to try to get Michigan on the spaceflight map. A NASA effort in the early 1970s went awry and was canceled due to inclement weather, which prevented rockets from launching. Still, the organization behind the current plan hasn’t lacked for ambition. Among the details revealed in the New Yorker piece: M.A.M.A. has been in touch with SpaceX.

Could the state’s Upper Peninsula be radically transformed with a new industry? Stranger things have happened — especially when space travel is involved.