Canada’s first spaceport will launch Ukrainian rockets


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Halifax-based Maritime Launch Services has confirmed its plans to build a $148-million rocket spaceport near Canso, Nova Scotia. Construction works are to start in 2018. Scheduled for completion in 2020, it’ll be Canada’s first and only site where rockets can be launched into orbit. The launch pad is slated to deliver commercial satellites to low Earth orbit aboard Ukrainian-built Cyclone rockets on a due south trajectory and at a cost of $60 mn per launch, Gizmodo reported.


The Halifax-based company, which is a joint venture of three U.S.-based firms, hopes to launch eight rockets annually by 2022. The facility would launch rockets with 3,350-kg payloads on a due south trajectory at a cost of $60 mn, CBC News reported.

MLS will be purchasing 3,350 kg Cyclone 4 rockets from the Ukrainian manufacturer Pivdenne and Pivdenmash, also known by their Russian transliteration Yuzhnoye and Yuzhmash. This company has been building Cyclone launchers starting from 1968 and has produced more than 400 spacecraft. It is located in the city of Dnipro, previously known as Dnipropetrovsk.

Read more: Dnipro will not let Ukraine’s space glory be forgotten

In an interview to CBC News, Maritime Launch Services president Steve Matier said that while launching rockets is a risky operation, the Ukrainian rocket producer is probably “the most reliable rocket” they could choose: “With Yuzhnoye’s background in developing rockets and Yuzhmash with manufacturing them — we feel like we’ve got the risks mitigated,” he said.

Earlier, Ukraine cooperated on the “Cyclone-4” program with Brazil, but in 2015 Brazil ceased work on the project.

Cyclone 4  is a three-stage-to-orbit expendable launch system which was developed for commercial satellite launches based on its successful predecessor Cyclone 3. It comes with a control system allowing to launch the rocket into space. The launch system will be able to deliver up to 5,250 kg to a 185 km orbit, 4,900 kg to a 400 km orbit, or 500 kg to a geosynchronous orbit.

Read also: Top-10 space achievements of independent Ukraine

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  1. Avatar Mykola Banderachuk says:


  2. Avatar Murf says:

    The rebirth of Ukraine’s aerospace industry begins now!

    1. Avatar MichaelA says:

      True, although they have been supplying small liquid-fuel rocket engines on the Vega since 2012. And they work, which is more than can be said about some others *cough*Russia*cough*

      1. Avatar Murf says:

        Russia used to dominate in space launch market with a remarkable reliability rate. Now they blow up almost as much as they deliver and their market share is only 2%.
        The once great Soviet Space program laid low by Putin’s corruption regime.
        But that does create a huge opportunity which I am glad Ukraine can be a part of.

        1. Avatar Andrew Chmil says:

          “ share is only 2%.”

          Don’t need the citation — your word is good!
          But where did you get THAT from?!

          Just “sounds” SUPER LOW to me ….

  3. Avatar MichaelA says:

    Ukraine has a very useful qualification for this gig – its rockets don’t explode at embarrassing moments.

    Russian rocket engineers seem to think they are actually making fireworks for public enjoyment – apparently there are lots of “oohs” and “ahs” as yet another expensive payload lights up the sky over Baikonur. Even US rockets don’t have as good a record as the Ukrainian engine in Vega rockets.

  4. Avatar Garolin says:

    Incorrect. Canada’s first spaceport exists in Churchill, Manitoba.

    1. Avatar Fortranz says:

      True, but Churchill, Manitoba last saw use only in the 1970s and 1980s, and was inactive by 1990. The company Akjuit Aerospace closed down it’s restart operations May 1998 due to a lack of financing and the collapse of the space launch market in 1999/2000

  5. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Vladimir Putin should be sent into space on one of these rocket – one-way ticket, no reentry permit, and without a spacesuit. Bye bye Vladolf. Non-humans don’t belong on Planet Earth.

    1. Avatar Quartermaster says:

      There’s already enough detritus in orbit. Put him in a box and drop it in the nearest subduction zone.

  6. Avatar Greg says:

    good news for both countries. NASA must move off of Russian rockets, Ukraine is working to replace Russia as a supplier as well as NASA is out sourcing to private companies many launches which drives new business opportunities.

    this will help to build on the Freed Trade agreement between the nations

  7. Avatar Patel Nisha says:

    Excellent, because in a world of diminishing resources, environmental degradation, and exponentially-increasing (and unsustainable) debt, what could be a wiser ‘investment’?