Students complete first suborbital launch from new Nova Scotia spaceport

Students today completed the first suborbital launch from the new Nova Scotia spaceport being run by Maritime Launch Services.

The launch was completed by Arbalest Rocketry, a rocketry team from Ontario’s York University. It in turn is part of a nationwide Canadian student program called Launch Canada involving “over 1000 students nationwide from over 25 universities and colleges.”

Maritime hopes to offer both a launchpad and a rocket to satellite companies. It has deals with rocket startups in both the Ukraine and the United Kingdom, whereby satellite companies can come to Martitime and get full launch services.

Nova Scotia spaceport gets another launch contract

Maritime Launch Services, which is building a spaceport in Nova Scotia and hopes to offer its own rocket services to put satellites in orbit, has obtained what it claims could be a $1 billion contract with an unnamed European orbital tug company.

The only two European orbital tug companies that closely fit the description provided by Maritime officials are D-Orbit or Exolaunch. The latter had had a contract with Virgin Orbit to launch as many as 20 of its satellites. Coming less than one day after Virgin Orbit’s assets were sold off, this announcement suggests Exolaunch has replaced Virgin Orbit with this deal.

Unlike other spaceports, Maritime isn’t merely providing a launch site for rocket companies. Instead the company will also launch smallsats itself, using either Ukraine’s Cyclone-4M rocket or a British-made startup rocket dubbed Skyrora.

Ukrainian rocket for Nova Scotia spaceport so far unaffected by war

Capitalism in space: According to the CEO of Maritime Launch Services, the Canadian company that is building a spaceport in Nova Scotia, work on the Ukrainian Cyclone-4M rocket that the spaceport wants to offer customers has as yet not been impacted by the invasion by Russia.

Steve Matier, CEO of Maritime Launch Services, says daily planning work continues with the makers of the Cyclone-4M rocket, who are based in Dnipro, Ukraine. Matier said in an interview Tuesday his company still hopes to conduct its first launch sometime in 2023, once it gets final construction and environmental approval from the province for its proposed facilities near Canso, N.S.

However, Matier also said the first launches from the spaceport will not use the Cyclone. Instead, these launches would use smaller unnamed rockets putting smaller payloads in lower orbit. Since the company’s initial business model had been to offer to satellite customers not only the spaceport but the rocket, this statement suggests the company has changed that business model and is now marketing the spaceport to other rocket companies.

Matier’s comments were in connection with the announcement that Maritime has now become a publicly traded company.

Ukrainian rocket development for Nova Scotia spaceport unhindered by war

Capitalism in space: The development of a Ukrainian rocket dubbed Cyclone 4M for of any satellite customers who choose to launch from a planned Nova Scotia spaceport has not been delayed by the Ukraine war.

“Everything is stable with respect to our team in Ukraine,” said Steve Matier, president of Maritime Launch Services. “The facility there is fine, the staff is fine and at work. . . . We’re continuing to finance their development of the launch vehicle.”

The Cyclone 4M rocket Maritime Launch Services plans to use is designed and built by Ukrainian state corporations Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash in Dnipro. Known as Space City, Dnipro is located in central Ukraine. The city of about a million people was shelled in mid-March by Russian forces and the airport runways and terminal were hit by missile strikes, according to Ukrainian government statements.

This story illustrates the strong possibility that the recent success the Ukraine has had on the battlefield has served to prevented any serious long term damage to its aerospace industry and its partners in the west. Those partnerships if anything look stronger, with the work in the Ukraine apparently able to continue as planned, with only slight delays.

Nanoracks signs deal to be first customer for Canadian spaceport

Capitalism in space: Nanoracks announced yesterday that it has signed a deal with Maritime Launch Services, the Canadian company managing a proposed spaceport in Nova Scotia as well as the launch services of a Ukrainian-built rocket, the Cyclone-4M.

The company and spaceport are targeting 2023 for launch.

Spaceport Nova Scotia is being operated a little differently than most of the new commercial spaceports. Instead of offering its facilities to all rocket companies, its manager, Maritime, has partnered with the two Ukrainian companies, Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash, that build the Cyclone-4M. They then offer the spaceport and rocket, as a unit, directly to satellite companies like Nanoracks.

Ukraine-Canadian partnership to launch from Nova Scotia

The competition heats up: A new launch company based in Canada and using a Ukrainian-made rocket called the Cyclone-4M has chosen as its launch site a location in Nova Scotia.

The rocket appears to be a variation of the Ukrainian Tsiklon-4 rocket, and would make this company competitive and in fact more capable than India’s smaller PSLV rocket that recently put 100 smallsats into orbit.