Public Battle: Michigan’s economic plan focuses on satellite communications

Michigan colleges and universities offer extensive training in aerospace research and engineering. However, after graduating from college, many graduates leave the state to work in California, Florida and Texas.

“We’re looking to create a whole value ecosystem that supports the growth and preservation of the talents that are taught here,” said Gavin Brown, executive director of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association.

Atlas Space Operations, a teleportation operator based in Traverse City, Michigan, operates a global network of antennas, including this one in Mahava, California. Credit: Atlas Space Operations

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association is working to create the Michigan space sector through projects such as Space Enabled Connectivity for Advanced Mobility or SECAM. SECAM brings together public, private and academic organizations working in the field of satellite and terrestrial technologies related to secure 5G networks. Among the beneficiaries of these global communications networks will be autonomous vehicles developed by the Michigan automotive industry.

Under SECAM, Michigan provides funding for the Michigan Center of Excellence, a campus with office space and facilities for technology research, development, testing, and evaluation. The SECAM campus is designed to engage organizations focused on a variety of technologies, from advanced manufacturing to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum and peripheral computing.

“Other parts of the country are focused on pieces of that,” Brown said. “I think the real value comes from the whole ecosystem: from development and prototyping to production.”

In December, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a $ 1 billion package of investments and tax breaks to help the state contribute to key industries. SECAM and other initiatives of the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association may be eligible for these incentives, as well as federal funding from the Commerce, Education and Energy Ministries.

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association is also working with Midwestern research institutions, the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory to secure funding for the proposed Central American Hypersonic Suborbital Test Site initiative.

Through the Michigan Launch Initiative, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturing Association is leading a public-private partnership to identify and create sites for horizontal and vertical satellite launches, as well as a satellite control and management center.

This article originally appeared in February 2022 of SpaceNews magazine.

In this series Public Battle: Michigan’s economic plan focuses on satellite communications

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