Canada, normally content to mull around earth connsidering it's large and indefensible expanse of land, may be on the verge of entering the space age. Yes, I know we have Canadian astronauts and the much-vaunted CANADARM. But we're little more than cosmic hitchhikers, dependent on the fancy rockets and shuttles of more space-savvy nations. Perhaps no more. Look out, NASA, there may be a new kid on the block.
The feds are considering coughing up $45 million to help fund a commercial rocket pad on Cape Breton Island. All of a sudden, Louisbourg went from a historically interesting make-work project to the most kick-ass rocket watching spot in the whole country.
Additional funding for the project is coming from everyone's favourite purveyor of fine missile systems, Lockheed Martin. Apparently, when Canada bought a bunch of airplanes from them (17 c-130J's), they agreed to invest in 'regional projects'. From the CBC:
The project is headed by Chicago's PlanetSpace Inc., which has a non-monetary agreement with NASA to work on commercial space projects. PlanetSpace has indicated that one of its goals is to send 2,000 tourists into space within the next five years, at a cost of at least $250,000 US a person.
So not only will we have a commercial rocket pad, but it will be a totally useless installation for putting rich twits into space. Hm. Maybe that isn't such a bad idea, so long as we don't bring them back.
But I ask you: once Canada has the ability to lauch things into orbit, can a Tim Horton's on the International Space Station be far behind?
Canada: putting arms on other people's spaceships since 1981.