DARTMOUTH: It’s a busy week for a company looking to establish a rocket launch site in the Strait area.

Maritime Launch Services (MLS) hosted a Canso Spaceport project team kick-off event on December 11, which included partners Lindsay Construction and the Yuzhnoye State Design Office, the Ukraine company tasked with designing rockets for the project.

MLS president Steve Matier called the meeting a significant ramp-up in activities associated with the project.

“It’s about getting these teams together to iron out some of the roles and responsibilities associated with design,” said Matier. “That way, each of the design teams are off doing the right stuff and we’re not duplicating work.”

Beyond the meeting, MLS is hosting its final open house in Little Dover on December 14. Matier said the team is also meeting with the Municipality of the District of Guysborough and the Guysborough County Inshore Fishermen’s Association, as well as hosting its first community liaison committee meeting in Little Dover. There were also plans to get out to the proposed launch site on December 13, weather permitting.

Last March, MLS selected Canso as the site of a rocket launch base after looking at several communities in North America.

“Things are progressing at an extremely rapid pace,” said Matier. “It’s been one year since we submitted our lease application to the Department of Natural Resources [DNR] and we’ve got the [environmental assessment] that is almost done and will go in the first week or second of January. All of this is on schedule for basically getting to a point of starting construction in May.”

If the company receives approval from the Department of Environment, Matier said they have to finalize the land lease with DNR.

“We’re delighted by the support of the community,” he said. “The outpouring has been phenomenal and that isn’t just Canso, Little, Dover, and Guysborough. It’s the province and it’s Canada at large.”

Matier previously said the Canso site looked good on paper, which led to a site visit in April of 2016 and a follow up in November, 2016. MLS then hosted an open house at the Canso-Hazel Hill Fire Hall in January, 2017, after speaking to various bodies such as DNR.