Nova Scotia

Canso spaceport secures $10.5M, aims for first launch next year

The financing from a Toronto investment bank will allow construction to begin at the site this fall, says Maritime Launch Services.

Financing for rocket-launching site in eastern Nova Scotia comes from Toronto investment bank

Maritime Launch Services, the company behind the proposed spaceport in Canso, N.S., has secured financing from a Toronto investment bank. (Maritime Launch Services)

The company behind a proposed spaceport in Canso, N.S., has secured financing it says will allow it to begin construction on the facility this fall and get its first launch off the ground in 2022.

Maritime Launch Services is receiving $10.5 million from Toronto investment bank PowerOne Capital Markets.

The company said in a news release Tuesday the money will help it achieve its first flight of a small-class launcher next year. The first Cyclone 4M medium-class launch vehicle would take off in 2023, according to the news release.

Maritime Launch Services wants to construct a rocket-launching site in Canso to send satellites into orbit for use in near-earth imaging, communications and scientific experiments.

The project got environmental approval in 2019, but that approval is subject to conditions. The company said it is working on complying with those conditions and expects to meet them this summer.

First flight could take place next year

Maritime Launch Services initially planned to launch its first rocket in late 2019, but that date has continually been postponed.

President and CEO Steve Matier said in an email the company has been approached by small satellite launchers, and MLS is considering hosting one of them for a first flight to orbit from the launch site as the facility scales up its operations.

The infrastructure requirements for a small launcher are significantly less than for a medium-class launcher, Matier said.

Work on the ground

Consulting firm Strum is already working in the field in Canso to place Crown land markers, and Maritime Launch Services plans to start the engineering design for the site next week.

An open house is planned for this summer in Guysborough and Canso to share information about the project and jobs that will be available.

After that, initial road work at the site would begin in September, with permission from the province.

The company said additional funding for the project will be secured through equity, debt and launch contracts.

The Municipality of the District of Guysborough has been supportive of the proposed spaceport. But others — including provincial and federal government staff — have raised concerns about the potential impact of a chemical spill or launch failure.

Once the facility is operating at full capacity, the plan is to launch eight rockets per year.


Frances Willick is a journalist with CBC Nova Scotia. Please contact her with feedback, story ideas or tips at