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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Canada Wants To Support Commercial Space Launches • TechCrunch

While most commercial space launches take place south of its border, Canada is tired of sitting on the sidelines and wants to get involved: the country’s federal Department of Transport has announced that it intends to support commercial space launches in the near future.

The plan is for Canada to begin commercial launches essentially immediately on a “case-by-case” basis, using existing regulatory frameworks to govern how, where and when those launches are conducted. This interim approach is expected to last approximately three years, a time Transport Canada intends to use to work with other relevant federal agencies and regulators to create a framework specific to modern domestic space launch activities.

That’s not to say Canada isn’t already involved in the space economy: on the contrary, Transport Canada says aerospace commercial activity contributed more than $22 billion in GDP to the country’s economy in 2020. The commercial launch industry is clearly heating up, however, Canada believes it is geographically and strategically well positioned to take advantage.

Some homegrown startups are already experimenting with the possibility of launching small payloads from Canada, including SpaceRyde, which makes relatively short low-Earth orbit trips using small rockets deflated by balloons. But opening up to commercial activity more broadly could help Canada attract existing commercial launch entities, including SpaceX, Rocket Lab and others looking to join its ranks, as another option for North American takeoffs.

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