Super-Nova Scotia? Spaceport may be coming to fishing village

Maritime Launch Services announces that it has selected an area near Canso, Nova Scotia for a new $148-million spaceport
canso spaceport rocket The Ukrainian-built Cyclone 4 rocket is what will be launched from the proposed launchpad in Canso. (Maritime Launch Services)


If you've never heard of Canso before, that wouldn't be too surprising. The small fishing village is found on the far eastern edge of mainland Nova Scotia, just south of Cape Breton Island.

Here's a lovely picture of it, with Durrell's Island to the left.

Canso is home to around 800 people and is the sort of place that can easily keep to itself. That much seems obvious. Something about it that you wouldn't expect? This picturesque little community may become the home of the world's newest, and Canada's only, spaceport.

As in, a home to rocket launches.

One year and counting

This announcement was made yesterday by Maritime Launch Services (MLS). This Nova Scotia company serves the commercial space launch market, which is where other companies pay to have their satellites sent into space. You can think of it almost like a space taxi or courier. MLS's satellite-carrying rockets would need a place to take off from, which is where the spaceport comes in

Canso and nearby Hazel Hill were chosen from a list of 14 potential sites for a number of reasons, according to MLS president Steve Matier. Those are "access to polar/sun synchronous orbit, very low population density, proximity to multi-modal transportation, and interest from the community, province and government." In other words, it is aimed toward the right spot in our atmosphere, not many people live nearby (rockets are LOUD), and people are interested in seeing this happen.

A tourist attraction

A NASA rocket launch in West Virginia. Will this soon become a familiar sight in Nova Scotia? (Getty Embed)

This is not a done deal quite yet because MLS still needs to get government approval. But if everything goes according to plan, the spaceport will be ready to launch rockets by 2020. It is expected to launch eight rockets a year. If that doesn't sound like many rockets, keep this in mind: launching just one costs about $60 million!

Having the country's only spaceport will be quite a change for Canso. It is expected that tourism will go up, with lots of people coming from far and wide to catch the sight of a rocket blasting into the space. It will also expected that it will bring quite a few jobs to the area, too. But some things will remain the same.

For example? MLS will need to schedule launches around the lobster fishing season. Rockets or no rockets, this is still a fishing town!


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  1. I would like to watch the rockets takeoff, because it’s awesome. Rockets flying past the planets. I would like to look the rockets go up. I want to put the fuel in. I want to hit the button that makes it go. I want to fly on it . We have liftoff!

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