Sunday, October 17, 2021

MLS secures financing for spaceport launch vehicle, site prep

  • May 12 2021
  • By Helen Murphy    

CANSO – Maritime Launch Services (MLS) announced Tuesday (May 11) that it has secured $10.5 million in financing for a launch vehicle and site preparation at Canada’s first commercial spaceport, designed to send small satellites into space, planned for the Canso area.

“The proceeds of this financing will enable MLS to achieve first flight heritage in 2022 of a small class launcher and mature the site and the Cyclone 4M medium class launch vehicle for launch in 2023 from its state-of-the-art complex near Canso,” the company said in a news release.

MLS hopes to begin construction this fall.

“We are thrilled with today’s announcement as it advances our initiative to disrupt the launch industry by giving our clients an affordable price per kilogram and just as importantly, the ability to deliver their payloads to space, when they want them and where they want them,” said Steve Matier, president and CEO of MLS.

“We are grateful for the dedication and support of many, beginning with the people of Canso and the surrounding community to our investors, customers, government, suppliers and engineering support teams that have backed our initiative from the beginning. We are looking forward to starting construction, ramping up operations and finalizing our launch vehicle offerings.”

Matier told The Journal that initial road work will take several months for clearing, grubbing and getting “some reasonable road base in place.” He said MLS will “be making more announcements about engineering designer selection and other activities soon.”

Regarding the long list of conditions attached to the provincial government environmental approval for the project, Matier said via email that the company is “working hard on the environmental compliance pieces as we speak to get the approval for project commencement … We also have the remaining pieces of the land lease to work through.”

As part of that land lease process, he said, “Strum Consulting is in the field next week to complete the survey work then it’s back to Lands and Forestry. We should be able to get everything done in the next 90 to 120 days.”

In its statement, MLS said it has “the necessary skills, assets, launch vehicle technology, and infrastructure to serve the rapidly growing commercial space launch requirements for satellites. Leveraging highly reliable and mission-proven launch vehicles designed by Yuzhnoye, Maritime Launch will offer the most efficient lift capacity to address the launch requirements of the fast-growing LEO space industry worldwide. The medium class launch vehicle, the Cyclone 4M, is right sized for today’s market with its 5-ton satellite payload capacity and 4-meter fairing.”

It also said the selected site near Canso is the “optimal location” for this facility, offering “a wide range of launch inclinations including optimal polar and sun-synchronous launch trajectories.”

The company said it looks forward “to hiring a talented team and contributing indirectly to economic growth, including local infrastructure improvements and increased tourism.”

The planned spaceport has received both support and opposition from Canso-area residents. While some welcome the economic development potential of the project, others are concerned about potential safety and environmental risks.

MLS’s new financing was led by Power One Capital Markets Limited and Primary Capital Inc.