Proposed Nova Scotia Spaceport announces payload client for first launch


The company behind the push to build Canada’s first commercial airport, located at the northeastern tip of Nova Scotia, announced on Friday as the first payload customer for the initial, expected rocket launch. near the end of 2023.

Stephen Matier, president and chief executive officer of Maritime Launch Services, told reporters at Halifax that Nanoracks, a leading supplier of commercial payloads to the International Space Station, will use the spaceport for deployments. deploying small satellites for its customers.

Texas-based Nanoracks, which also provides satellite services to the Canadian Space Agency, is known for designing and building a cookie oven that was delivered to the space station in 2019.

Matier said the launch deal with Nanoracks is worth $45 million, adding that the business case for building the spaceport is increasingly clear.

“The commercial space industry is already at $400 billion a year and growing,” he said. “However, the backbone of that industry is the ability to launch those satellites into orbit.”

Nanoracks co-founder Jeffrey Manber said his company’s confidence in the proposed venture is an indication that the idea of ​​building a launch center on Canada’s East Coast is a reality. The proposed site was chosen because of its remoteness and the desired southerly orbital accessibility to put the satellite into orbit.

“It’s extremely important to have a variety of space sports,” Manber said in an interview on Friday. “Being so close to the US, it will be easy to transport your satellites, so there will be a lot of advantages for our customers when Maritime Launch comes online.”

Matier also announced that his company has signed a letter of intent to launch small satellites for the Nova Scotia-based GALAXIA Mission System. At the same time, he also revealed preliminary designs for a launch control center to be built at the spaceport site near Canso, NS, complete with an education and visitor center.

Matier said the first payload will be launched on a Ukrainian-made Cyclone-4M missile. He said the rocket has successfully performed 877 missions, has a lifting capacity of 5 tons with a payload bay of 4 meters in diameter, can carry dozens of satellites at the same time.

Volodymyr Taftai, the head of Ukraine’s state space agency, was among the dignitaries present at Friday’s announcement. Others include Federal Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, along with Canadian Space Agency president Lisa Campbell.

Taftai calls the Maritime Launch project the next chapter in the relationship between Ukraine and Canada. “This is a project that combines a perfect launch pad, a perfect location and an excellent missile,” he said.

In May, Maritime Launch Services announced it had secured $10.5 million from Toronto-based investment bank PowerOne Capital Markets to help it achieve its first flight. It also announced a number of companies selected to design and build the launch pad, including Stantec, Strum Consulting, Nova Construction and St. Francis Xavier University. Maritime Launch Services said it is aiming to have the project ready by the end of 2023.

Last March, Nova Scotia’s Department of the Environment gave the company an 18-month extension to begin construction on the project. The ministry said it expected all conditions of the approval of the environmental assessment to be completed by December 3, 2022.

Matier said work on meeting provincial requirements continues, as does pre-construction activities, including design work for the entire facility and prospecting.

“We are having active conversations with other satellite developers,” he said.

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 19, 2021.

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