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Now Canadians will have a place to watch launches from by 2020.
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Canada to have its own 'spaceport' by 2020, here's where

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 3:03 PM - Commercial spaceflight company Maritime Launch Services has chosen the town of Canso, Nova Scotia as the location for their new spaceport, which could begin launching rockets as early as 2020.

For years now, various space companies have discussed building a spaceport in Nova Scotia - someplace where satellites could be launched into orbit from Canadian soil.

Now, according to Maritimes Launch Services Ltd., a commercial space company based in Halifax, they could be breaking ground outside the town of Canso, near the northeast tip of mainland Nova Scotia, as early as 2018, and could be launching satellites into orbit by 2020.

Location of Canso, NS. Credit: Google/S. Sutherland

"While we have a number of challenges ahead to work through the regulatory processes, approvals and site planning, we are optimistic that we can break ground on the launch complex within a year and meet market demands with our first launch in 2020," John Isella, CEO of Maritime Launch Services (MLS), said in a press release issued on Tuesday.

According to the company's plan, they intend to host eight rocket launches per year, starting in 2022.

This site in Guysborough Municipality, near Canso and Hazel Hill, was chosen from among 14 different locations across North America, based on its distance from major population centres, its access to transportation and a local port for receiving launch components, and its suitability for launching satellites into polar-orbiting, Sun-synchronous trajectories.

Watch Below: Here's how a polar, sun-synchronous satellite orbits Earth.

Speaking to CBC's Maritime Noon, MLS president Steve Matier said that when local residents asked why their community was chosen, "they also had the correct answer in that they described Canso as not at the end of the earth but you can see it there."

The rocket MLS plans to use at the Canso Spaceport (whatever its actual name becomes) is the Cyclone-4 - a.k.a. Tsyklon-4 - launch vehicle, designed and build by Ukrainian companies Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash.

The Cyclone-4M medium-range launch vehicle. Credit: Maritime Launch Services Ltd.

Vernon Pitts, Warden of the Municipality of Guysborough, told the CBC: "I think it's going to be a fantastic thing for the town. It's going to be a great tourist draw. Where's the closest destination you can go to actually watch rockets taking off? I think this is just fantastic as long as they keep the people informed."

Currently, the closest location for Canadians to watch a space launch from is the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, on Wallops Island, in Virginia. Given that night-time space launches from Wallops Island are visible up and down the eastern seaboard and potentially as far inland as southern Ontario, southern Quebec, and even parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, launches from this spaceport near Canso could be viewed across the Maritimes and possibly from as far away as Québec City!

Sources: SpaceRef | CBC | NASA Earth Observatory

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