Canso spaceport gets environmental approval

MLS plans to meet all conditions

By Helen Murphy    

GUYSBOROUGH – A planned rocket launch facility in the Canso area is much closer to reality now following the Dept. of Environment’s conditional approval Tuesday, June 4. The decision was based on the focus report submitted to the department by Maritime Launch Services (MLS) in March. The company plans to start construction this coming summer, with first launch in the last quarter of 2021.

“Today’s decision by Minister Wilson affirms the commitment of MLS to build and operate Nova Scotia’s spaceport with environmental sensitivity and safety as priorities,” MLS President and CEO Stephen Matier says in a statement. “Once again, we thank the community for its overwhelming support for this initiative. This is an exciting day for the communities of Canso, Hazel Hill and Little Dover, the province, and the country. We are grateful to Minister Wilson and his staff for their rigorous and thorough environmental assessment process.”

The Canso Spaceport would be the first commercial rocket launch complex in Canada.

“I think the federal and provincial governments should be looking at this very closely,” MODG Warden Vernon Pitts told The Journal Tuesday afternoon, in terms of the potential spin-offs and related space industry developments. “It’s the first of its kind in Canada. It could be a win-win if everyone steps up to the plate.”

The warden is also optimistic about the creation of 100 new jobs through the Canso Spaceport, and the impact that could have on the community, including schools and hospitals.

The company says it will comply with each of the conditions of the approval and will be working with the Department of Lands and Forestry to complete the Crown Land lease, with the goal of a ceremonial groundbreaking in July.

“The proposed commercial spaceport will become an economic engine in the region and will build upon Canada’s heritage in the global space community,” the statement says.

Earlier this spring, the Canso Area Development Assoc. circulated a petition in support of the proposed Canso Spaceport. The petition garnered 753 signatures and was tabled in the provincial legislature on April 11 by Guysborough - Eastern Shore - Tracadie MLA and Minister of Transportation Lloyd Hines.

MLS plans to provide rocket launch services to clients as part of the growing commercial space transportation industry. It projects eight rocket launches per year to put commercial satellites into space.