Maritime Launch Services has finalized the Crown land lease for its planned spaceport near Canso, Nova Scotia, paving the way for an inaugural rocket launch next year.
The lease is for 334.5 acres near the Chedabucto Bay and will last 20 years, with an option to renew for another 20 — although a statement from Maritime Launch, or MLS, did not clarify which party has the option.
“Acquiring the land lease is a huge milestone for Maritime Launch and the development of Spaceport Nova Scotia,” said MLS Chief Executive Stephen Matier in the statement. “This land lease cements Nova Scotia’s place as a leader in Canada’s growing space industry.
“We’re excited to build Spaceport Nova Scotia, but even more excited to build our team in Canso, Hazel Hill, and Little Dover (other nearby towns), creating good jobs in the growing space sector.”
Matier previously said he expects MLS to eventually employ about 100 people.
The company originally said it would use rockets built by Yuzhnoye Design Office — the Ukrainian former manufacturer of ballistic missiles for the Soviet Union — but announced in May it had signed a letter of intent with Quebec aerospace company Reaction Dynamics to use its Aurora launch vehicles.
The Crown land lease comes as a win for MLS on the regulatory front, with the spaceport’s environmental review process previously stoking controversy and Matier partly blaming government bureaucracy for prior delays.
Maritime Launch shares, which trade on Toronto's specialist NEO Exchange for innovation-driven companies, fell just over 10 percent Monday to 15 cents.