Yoopers Not All Happy About U.P. Rocket Launch Plans
A plan to launch rockets into space from a remote site near Marquette, has not won everyone over. Even though the idea would bring high tech jobs to the state.
Michigan Wants to Get into The Space Race
A thorough article about the plans to push the Upper Peninsula into the middle of the newly renewed space race was published in this month's New Yorker magazine.
Entitled, 'The Plan To Make Michigan the Next Space State', the David Rompf penned piece highlighted everything you need to know about the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturer's Association and its idea to purchase 2500 acres near the Lake Superior shoreline to launch commercial rockets into space.
The idea is to make it similar to Cape Canaveral, Florida and remote sites out west in New Mexico and California. Another spot being considered is the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base near Oscoda.
But Not Everyone Is As Enthused
While the piece explores deeply some of the entrepreneurial ideas floating around the launch site, many of which would bring a great number of highly skilled tech employees into the region, it also points out, that early on, some Yoopers are less than thrilled with the idea of loud launches taking payloads over their water system.
A couple of groups have already begun to protest the idea, including StopTheRocket.com, a campaign led by the group Citizens for a Clean and Safe Lake Superior.
At the top of the list of concerns opponents have had, besides noise and potential lost payload into the Lake, is that MAMA has failed to make any effort to speak to local government agencies in the area, something that would go a long way to making their project more transparent.
Two NMU Alumni Would Love To Bring Their Business There
Among the highlights of the article is a discussion on businesses that would love to work in that region, but they don't want to do it against the wishes of the citizens.
Two space entrepreneurs, Adam Kall and Austin Morris, who attended nearby Northern Michigan University, said they would love to bring their company, and its novel idea to clean up space junk to their old stomping grounds, but they understand the hesitancy of locals.
“As space nerds, we want a rocket site here, but it’s actually not crucial to our mission,” Morris told the New Yorker. Launching from the U.P. would be convenient, he said, but “we’re going to be shipping the spacecraft to wherever the rocket is launching anyway.” He added that, speaking as a citizen of Marquette, he’s waiting for MAMA to release more details about its plans: “I think it’s up to MAMA to put out the actual truth about what the scenario is going to be in order to dispel all rumors.”
“Or to confirm the rumors,” Kall added in the article, in what proved to be my favoritie quote. “I think MAMA drastically underestimated the ability of Yoopers to get worked up about something, to be passionate about something,” he said, using the nickname for residents and natives of the U.P. “We’ve seen it many times when someone discounts the U.P. as a bunch of hillbillies up here who have nothing to do.”
Lake Superior means a lot to the citizens of the Upper Peninsula, and their passion to keep it clean is admirable. I hope that everyone in MAMA understands that transparency is key to winning over the residents.
Abandoned Port Austin Air Force Base