Maine startup company bluShift Aerospace says it has successfully tested its full-scale Modular Adaptable Rocket Engine for Vehicle Launch 2.0 engine on March 1 at Brunswick’s TechPlace business hub.
An announcement states: “Powered by a non-toxic, carbon-neutral, bio-derived solid fuel, the static test fire was viewed by a select group of in-person guests and over 1,300 followers on a Youtube livestream. The test is the culmination of eight years of R&D, over 200 tests using smaller rocket engines, and the successful realization of grants from NASA and the Maine Technology Institute.”
CEO Sascha Deri said the test “was exactly what we were hoping for.”
BluShift’s engineering team will now analyze data collected.
The company describes MAREVL 2.0 as a “custom-built rocket engine with a 2-foot diameter and a length of 8 feet. The successful static-fire test of the engine clears a path toward the company’s next suborbital rocket, Starless Rogue, and orbital rocket, Red Dwarf. The latter will deliver cubeSats and nanosats into polar orbit around the Earth. The small but powerful satellites can be produced cheaply and quickly by companies and research institutions who are seeking affordable and timely ways to get to space.”
Deri says bluShift can “make space accessible” to those struggling to get payloads launched via large aerospace players at a time when the rocket launch industry is expanding quickly, and powered by rockets that are less harmful to the environment.
In January 2021, bluShift launched what it says was the first commercial rocket in the world powered by bio-derived fuel from Loring Commerce Centre in Limestone.
The company is headquartered at Hangar 6 at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, where it is designing a full-sized commercial suborbital rocket, Starless Rogue, expected to launch in 2022 using nontoxic, bio-derived fuel.
The company is working to qualify for NASA Flight Opportunities Program for future suborbital launches. The fuel, test site, and launchpad will be solar-powered, and bluShift plans to reuse nearly all of its suborbital rockets and 70% of its orbital ones.
bluShift has raised more than $1 million in capital investment from local and national investors and is raising funds via the crowdfunding platform Wefunder. The company plans to create 50 jobs in the next five years.