An eastern Canadian company has its sights set on the stars and just announced a partner may be along for the ride.
Maritime Launch Services (MLS) is a company based in Halifax that is looking to build a spaceport in Nova Scotia. The ambitious plans may have just received a bit of encouragement though, as MLS announced that an undisclosed launch company has reached out with a letter of intent to use the launch company’s facilities when they are ready.
“MLS has received a signed Letter of Intent from a client that intends to use our spaceport for the launch of their own rocket,” MLS’s newsletter reads. “This company sees the market potential our site offers to launch smaller payloads into low earth orbit. While their launch vehicle is still under development, their intention is to tap the services MLS provides to be able to launch their rocket beginning in 4 to 5 years.”
MLS also announced that they are working with other satellite clients that want to launch payloads from the spaceport using the Cyclone 4M, a Ukrainian carrier rocket designed for commercial satellite launches.
The Cyclone 4M was designed by Yuzhnoye, a design company focused on satellites and rockets. Launching a rocket will cost $45 million per trip. MLS has finalized contracts with the Ukrainian company to both aid in the construction of rockets and the launch complex itself.
One can only speculate around which companies have reached out to MLS with letters of intent, but according to the company’s phrasing, it appears to be an organization that is still developing a launch vehicle. This doesn’t necessarily rule out well-known launch companies, as they could always be working on newer and smaller rockets, but there are realistically only a handful of organizations that are capable of spaceflight, so it’s incredibly interesting to hear interest being expressed for an eastern Canada spaceport.
Right now, MLS is undergoing an environmental assessment form the Nova Scotian government regarding their plans for a spaceport. The company’s planned location for the facility would be in the Canso Hazel Hill area of Nova Scotia.
After they receive a go-ahead from the government, the next step, and arguably the toughest, is securing the necessary funding to build a launch complex. MLS previously outlined they would need $155 million in initial capital to build it, then $15 million per year to continue operations.
In a search for funding, MLS has partnered with Jacob Capital Management, based in Toronto, to help lead a strategic and financial advisory team. Jacob Capital has managed billions in equity financing through several industries. MLS has also said they will not pursue government funding.
MLS has said that the creation of the launch complex would create up to 335 jobs by the end of its completion and expansion. The company one day hopes to facilitate 12 launches a year, and construction could begin as soon as May 2018, though that depends on how quickly the Nova Scotia government responds.