An Atlas 5 rocket carrying the OSIRIS REx satellite launches from Cape Canaveral in 2016. An American venture is exploring the possibility of creating a commercial launch site in Nova Scotia
Photo Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press)

Rockets from Canada?

Almost everyone knows the name “Cape Canaveral” and its association with rockets and the space programme, but how about “Cape Canso”?

An American group calling itself Maritime Launch Services came to the Nova Scotia community of Hazel Hill yesterday to talk to locals and get their views on the possibility of creating a commercial launch site.

MLS president Steve Mathier said that while the company is looking for potential sites in Mexico, the US, and Canada, but noted the Canso site has advantages.

Red balloon shows Hazel Hill/Canso location © google

Mathier said the site is close to infrastructure but has a safe buffer from population areas as flights would be out over the sea.

Because there is the possibility of leasing Crown land, he added that no houses would need to be expropriated.

The site would have the launch pad and the monitoring/ processing facility located about two kilometres apart.

The cost to build the facility would be about $100 million, and would employ 30-50 people between launches ramping up to the hundreds prior and during launches.  He said that it would also bring substantial money into the area from as a large tourist attraction, especially during launches.  He said there could be up to eight launches a year noting that there is a worldwide demand for commercial satellite launching space.

Mathier says they’ve been working with the Ukrainian Cyclone M4 medium  rocket provider which is interested in breaking into the North American market.  Mathhier, from New Mexico, helped develop the Spaceport America launch site in that state.

The project would require approval from provincial and federal  governments.

He says a final decision on a launch site has not yet been made, but could be made by mid-March.  If the Canso site is chosen and approved, the first launch could be made in late 2019.

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