Gov. Janet Mills attends an event at the Blaine House, Friday, March 11, 2022, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday signed into law a bill to create a public-private partnership to help grow the state’s aerospace industry.

Supporters envision the corporation as a central hub for innovation and economic development in the state’s air and space industry.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick, said the effort has been years in the making.

“The Maine Space Consortium will bring together business, research and state leaders, to help ensure Maine continues to be at the forefront of this industry,” Daughtry said in a statement.

Members of the air and space industry have taken an interest in Maine in recent years, in part because it is home to the former Loring Air Force Base and Brunswick Landing, formerly a naval air station.

The state’s geography and existing infrastructure make it a candidate to serve as a site for small launches, industry members have said.