Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island in Maine is a gorgeous spot stolen from Wabanaki people who considered what white people now call Cadillac Mountain a sacred place. I’ve watched the sun come up from the shoreline near a campground at Acadia, a good reminder of why Native people called their home the Dawnland.
Acadia’s view of the Atlantic could include a rocket launch site someday soon if profiteers sniffing around nearby Steuben get their way. We’ve been organizing opposition to that and yesterday some board members of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space attended the Maine Space Conference in Portland. Two of us paid to go inside while a dozen of us met outside at the lunch break to picket the hotel venue, our presence meriting one sentence at the end of a puff piece by local tv a reporter.
That puff piece studiously avoided the word “military” as did most of the presentations we saw inside. But we’re paying attention to the promises made when the Maine Space Corporation legislation was rushed through under the gavel amid assurances to legislators that any launch site would be strictly for civilian uses like education and research. That is complete bullshit if the experiences of other launch sites like Kodiak, Alaska are any indication: promised no military use, they now play a key role in Israel’s genocide in Gaza as the Israeli military uses the Kodiak facility frequently to launch communications satellites.
bluShift Aerospace is pushing for the rocket launch site and its CEO told us in September that he expects to accept funding from both NASA (its official at the conference was referred to as the Maine space industry’s “sugar daddy” which seemed to delight him) and the U.S. Space Force. One of the breakout sessions I attended on Composites also had an orientation toward military applications and this was mentioned as a point of pride.
Meanwhile, everyone I spoke to at a rally for Gaza last weekend in Portland was astonished that there are plans to build a rocket launch site anywhere in Maine much less off the coast near Acadia.
To raise awareness our print ad is running this week in two newspapers in Bar Harbor near Acadia, and our radio ad is airing in that market as well.