Nova Scotia spaceport teams with U.S. firm to examine reuse of rockets in space

Canso Spaceport

A U.S.-based commercial space company is teaming up with the firm planning to build Canada's first commercial spaceport in eastern Nova Scotia.

The agreement will see Houston-based Nanoracks work on re-purposing spent rocket stages from launches at the Maritime Launch Services (MLS) facility near Canso, N.S.

MLS received conditional environmental approval from the province to build the facility in June.

Nanoracks CEO Jeffrey Manber says the plan is to use the upper stages of MLS's Ukrainian-made rockets as in-space platforms that can serve as satellite storage units or fuel depots.

Manber's company has received funding from NASA to examine the feasibility of repurposing so-called space junk, that otherwise would be burned up in the atmosphere or sent to junkyard orbits.

He says if it's possible, building the platforms in space using robotic technology would be more cost-effective and less risky than building them on the ground, then launching them into space.