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Canadian Launch Company Maritime Launch Services Selects Spaceport Design Lead

By Marc Boucher
May 26, 2021
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Canadian Launch Company Maritime Launch Services Selects Spaceport Design Lead
MLS map of spaceport area from 2018.

Maritime Launch Services (MLS) has selected Stantec to lead the design team for its Nova Scotia based spaceport. The company also announced several other contractors, many local, as it plans to break ground this fall and begin initial construction.
Stantec is a Canadian global design and consulting firm listed on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges. The company employs 22,000 people globally and they have two offices in Nova Scotia, Dartmouth and Sydney.

MLS said the selection of Stantec was through a competitive bidding process. Lee Jamieson, Stantec’s Senior Vice President, Environmental Services Canada said in a press release “Stantec is pleased to be selected as lead design consultant for Canada’s first commercial spaceport, and to act as Environmental Services Consultant for Maritime Launch Services on this state-of-the-art project. Our experienced team of practitioners in Atlantic Canada will help navigate the environmental compliance process while designing the infrastructure and utilities for this complex and unique project in our community.”

While MLS had preliminary plans in place, Stantec will now lead the design team in preparing the final design ahead of construction. The company had previously been environmental services consultants to MLS during their environmental review.

MLS also said they had selected the following companies for a variety of work. Strum Consulting, Lloyd’s Register, Nova Construction, Lindsay Construction Management, and St. Francis Xavier University. A number of unnamed companies will also receive work.

Stephen Matier, President and CEO of MLS said “we have selected a number of local firms across Nova Scotia to support Maritime Launch in building a state-of-the-art, world-class launch complex. With initial financing in hand, we have begun hiring members of our executive leadership team and we are accelerating work on the site so we can break ground on construction of the complex in the fall.”

MLS added that “Nova Construction, located in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, will partner with MLS on the road building and civil construction associated with the site. As well, The Applied Technology Group at Lloyd’s Register is performing launch operations air emissions modelling, and MLS is contracting St. Francis Xavier University’s FluxLab, led by Dr. David Risk, to implement the air monitoring program for the spaceport. They develop instrumentation and algorithms for gas measurement, conduct gas measurement studies, work closely with industry, and train upcoming generations of young scientists.”

Matier further stated that “hiring local and utilizing capabilities and resources within Nova Scotia is a priority for Maritime Launch. In the coming months, we will host an Industry Day in coordination with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough to brief the community on job opportunities and the plans for construction and design of the facility. Our construction partners will need to hire extensively for site construction. Today’s news is just the beginning.”

MLS still needs to secure additional funding beyond the recent $10.5 million it announced. However, having received its first investment from private venture capital is a good start after struggling to convince investors to participate in the project at the onset of the pandemic. It shows a trend in the current space sector that growth is here and can be sustained. The company is looking at closing its second round of funding this fall.

In 2019 the company stated it needed approximately $210 million to complete the full project which would allow the Ukrainian built Cyclone 4M medium lift rocket to operate from the spaceport. The company however is now looking a phased approach that would allow a small launch vehicle to launch from the spaceport as early as next year. The funding need for that step is a fraction of the overall project costs. Having the capability to launch small launch vehicles would also allow the company to generate revenue sooner.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.