Michigan Missiles

Marquette launch site rendering
Marquette Launch Site rendering. Courtesy of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association

Michigan could become the Cape Canaveral of the north between 2023 and 2025, when a vertical launch site north of Marquette in the Upper Peninsula and a horizontal launch site at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport south of Alpena are expected to go into operation, according to the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association.

The Sterling Heights-based trade association spent more than a year investigating sites throughout the state before announcing its decision on a horizontal launch (from under airplane wings) location in February and the vertical launch (from traditional pads) facility in July.

The two launch sites, along with a yet-to-be-identified command and control center, are projected to create more than 2,000 jobs. The sites will be instrumental in creating a space ecosystem that’s expected to top 40,000 new jobs by 2025, according to MAMA. Some experts are predicting satellite launches will be a $28-billion enterprise by 2028 due to defense needs, public demand for instant communications, GPS, and mobility.

“Michigan has a real opportunity to support a space-based ecosystem,” says Gavin Brown, executive director of MAMA. “By integrating sophisticated infrastructure with first-rate human talent, Michigan can be one of the leaders in the space industry.”