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Proposed Nova Scotia spaceport announces payload client for initial launch

The initial rocket launch in northeastern Nova Scotia is expected sometime in 2023
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HALIFAX — The company planning to build Canada's first commercial spaceport is announcing its first payload client for the initial rocket launch in northeastern Nova Scotia, expected sometime in 2023.

Stephen Matier, president and CEO of Maritime Launch Services, said today Nanoracks will use the spaceport to deploy small satellites for its customers.

Nanoracks is a leading commercial payload provider to the International Space Station and offers satellite services to the Canadian Space Agency.

Matier also announced today his company has signed a letter of intent to launch small satellites for Nova Scotia-based GALAXIA Mission Systems.

As well, he revealed preliminary designs for a launch control centre to be built at the spaceport site near Canso, N.S., complete with a visitor and educational centre.

Matier says the first payload will be launched aboard a Ukrainian-built Cyclone-4M rocket.

"Today’s announcement is an important step for Canada’s future in the growing commercial space sector in Canada," Matier said in a news release. "We are incredibly proud to be collaborating with Nanoracks, an innovative company with over a decade of experience in the commercial space sector."

In May, Maritime Launch Services announced it had secured $10.5 million from Toronto investment bank PowerOne Capital Markets in order to help it achieve its first flight.

It also announced some of the firms chosen to design and construct the launch pad, including Stantec, Strum Consulting, Nova Construction and St. Francis Xavier University. Maritime Launch Services has said it was aiming to have the project ready by the end of 2023.

In March of this year, Nova Scotia's Environment Department granted the company an 18-month extension to begin the project's construction. The department said it expected all conditions of the environmental assessment approval to be completed no later than Dec. 3, 2022. 

The proposed site on the northeastern tip of mainland Nova Scotia was picked because of its remoteness and access to a desired due south trajectory to put satellites into orbit. Once the site is built, the plan is to launch rockets with payloads of up to 5,000 kilograms for low Earth orbit and up to 3,350 kilograms for higher orbits.  

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.

Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press

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