The Proponent: Maritime Launch Services
A Start-up Company
Maritime Launch Services is a start-up company with no track record, incorporated in
2016. It was created specifically to launch rockets designed by Yuzhnoye, business and design office of the Ukrainian Space Agency.
Corruption and Fraud Allegations
Yuzhnoye is embroiled in a corruption case involving the theft of CAD $10,000,000, owe Boeing USD $200,000,000 due to breach of contract, and are
suffering further losses from a failed 10-year-long Cyclone 4 Project in Brazil.
MLS founding partner United Paradyne Corporation (UPC) recently made headlines after settlement details of a two-year false claims case in Florida were unsealed. A settlement of USD $375,000 to be paid to NASA and ex UPC employee Steven Walker, by UPC, involved a complaint which specifically names CTO David Walsh (now MLS CTO) for submitting false claims and false documents to NASA, and intentionally disregarding safety protocol which could potentially risk loss of life.
Seeking Public Support - Despite Claims Otherwise
Although MLS has claimed to only use private funds for this venture it has been lobbying our Federal and Provincial Governments for support and has asked for both financial support and special treatment from the Municipality of the District of Guysborough.
Untested Cyclone 4M Rockets
The Cyclone 4M rocket proposed for Canso has never been flown and is still in
The Dangers: A Pristine Ecosystem Threatened
Too Close for Comfort
Canso and Area residents live within 3km of the proposed launch site.
10KM Impact Zone
An explosion on the launch pad could spread unsafe levels of carbon monoxide (CO) and
nitric oxide (NOx) up to 10km away.
Failings of the Focus Report
After noting several insufficiencies in the EA document submitted by MLS in June 2018, then Environment Minister Margaret Miller requested a Focus Report, which was submitted by MLS in March of 2019. Scientists and department staffers noted several areas of concern still not addressed, including but not limited to, a lack of adequate modelling for worse case scenarios, emergency response planning, air quality management planning, environmental protection planning, wildlife management planning, and watercourse analyses. Minister Miller was shuffled from her position on April 24th and replaced by Minister Gordon Wilson who gave the project a pass on June 4th with the same ommissions included as conditions of approval.
Danger to Fishery and Wildlife
Within 70 seconds of launch, a failure:
On land: could blast a 10m (33ft) crater in the granite shelf, completely burning all
vegetation within a 227m radius.
In water: submersion could reach 10m (33ft) before the propellants would mix and
explode. The resulting shockwave would kill all fish within a 200m radius.
Regulatory: Is Government Protecting Our Interests?
Conditional Approval Without Sufficient Information
On June 4, 2019, this project received conditional approval from the NS Department of the Environment. Contained in the 14 pages of conditions are several requests for missing information. Canada has no clear regulation specific to rocket launch facilities like the one proposed by MLS. Despite its intersecting numerous Federal Departments including Fisheries and Oceans, Health Canada and National Defense, this launch facility was given the minimal provincial Class One Environmental Assessment and no Federal Assessment.
60% of Petition Signatories Not From Community
MLA Lloyd Hines tabled a petition in favor of the MLS Canso Spaceport project on April 11, 2019 with 753 signatures, which has been used repeatedly to say local people “overwhelmingly support” this project. 455 of those signatures are NOT of people who live in the Canso area (Canso, Hazel Hill, Little Dover, Durrell's Island, the Tickle and Fox Island.)
Monitoring Failures - NS Department of Environment
In a 2017 report, The NS Department of the Environment was taken to task by the NS Auditor General for continually failing to monitor projects and ensure conditions on approval are met. This process has been called a “rubber stamp”, and can be used unscrupulously to help potentially dangerous projects bypass scrutiny.
Support Given Before Environmental Assessment
A recent Freedom of Information request revealed that NS Premier Stephen McNeil signed a letter of support for the MLS Canso Spaceport project in April 2017, over a year before MLS had even filed their Environmental Assessment document.