Canso spaceport construction delayed until later this year

The president of Maritime Launch Services says development at the rocket launch site likely won't start until next year, but he still aims for the first round of satellite launches to begin in 2021.

Despite the delays, Maritime Launch Services says it hopes the 1st satellite launch will be in 2021

Maritime Launch Services Ltd. plans to send Ukrainian-built Cyclone 4 rockets into orbit from Canso, Nova Scotia. (Maritime Launch Services)

The start date for the construction of Canada's only commercial spaceport has been pushed back. 

Stephen Matier, president of Maritime Launch Services, had hoped to break ground this month on the $200-million project on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore.

But Matier now says the rocket launch site in Canso likely won't start being developed until later this year — although he was hesitant to impose any new timeline.

He said he had hoped the process would be moving faster, but his firm doesn't plan on cutting corners.

The project doesn't plan to put humans into space, but is rather aimed at attracting consortiums of firms that want to put satellites into orbit for commercial purposes, such as near-Earth imaging.

It's a private-sector venture, but requires the province's environmental approval and further regulatory approvals for launching procedures.

Environmental assessment

There are still a number of hurdles to overcome before construction can begin, but Matier said good progress has been made.

Matier said last week, he met with provincial and federal officials, aerospace companies, environmental firms, engineering firms and construction companies.

He also visited the site in Canso and met with a community group that included officials with Guysborough County, the fisheries industry and residents.

​Matier said his company will submit an environment assessment to the province within the next month. That assessment will also go to Nova Scotia's Natural Resources Department as part of the land lease application.

Matier said the company is still aiming for the first round of satellite launches to begin in 2021.

Clarifications

  • A previous version of the story from the Canadian Press said that construction on the site was delayed indefinitely. In fact, Maritime Launch Services president said it's been delayed until at least later in the year.
    May 21, 2018 11:48 AM AT