The company that plans to build Canada’s first commercial spaceport is announcing its first payload customer for the initial rocket launch in northeast Nova Scotia, expected sometime in 2023.

Stephen Matier, president and CEO of Maritime Launch Services, said Friday that Nanoracks will use the spaceport to deploy small satellites for its customers.

Nanoracks is a leading provider of commercial payload for the International Space Station and offers satellite services to the Canadian Space Agency.

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Matier also announced today that his company has signed a letter of intent to launch small satellites for Nova Scotia-based GALAXIA Mission Systems.

In addition, it revealed preliminary designs for a launch control center to be built at the spaceport site near Canso, NS, with an educational and visitor center.

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Matier says that the first payload will be launched aboard a Cyclone-4M rocket built in Ukraine.

“Today’s announcement is an important step for Canada’s future in Canada’s growing commercial space sector,” Matier said in a press release. “We are incredibly proud to partner with Nanoracks, an innovative company with more than a decade of experience in the commercial space industry.”

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In May, Maritime Launch Services announced that it had secured $ 10.5 million from Toronto’s investment bank PowerOne Capital Markets to help it land its first flight.

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It also announced some of the firms chosen to design and build the launch pad, including Stantec, Strum Consulting, Nova Construction, and St. Francis Xavier University. Maritime Launch Services has said it aimed to have the project ready by the end of 2023.

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In March this year, the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment granted the company an 18-month extension to begin construction on the project. The department said it expected all conditions of the approval of the environmental assessment to be completed by December 3, 2022.

The proposed site in the extreme northeast of mainland Nova Scotia was chosen because of its remoteness and access to a desired southward trajectory to put the satellites into orbit. Once the site is built, the plan is to launch rockets with payloads of up to 5,000 kilograms for low Earth orbits and up to 3,350 kilograms for higher orbits.

This Canadian Press report was first published on November 19, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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