Canada is eager to play a more active role in the commercial space launch industry rather than simply observing from the sidelines. The country’s federal transport ministry has unveiled plans to support commercial space launches in the near future.
Under this strategy, Canada intends to become a host for commercial launch activities, commencing almost immediately and following a “case-by-case” approach. This approach will rely on the existing regulatory framework to oversee the location, timing, and specifics of these launches. It is expected that this ad hoc approach will be in effect for roughly three years. During this period, Transport Canada will collaborate with other relevant federal agencies and regulators to establish a dedicated framework tailored to modern space launch activities within Canada.
While Canada has already been involved in the space economy, with aerospace commercial activities contributing over $22 billion to the country’s GDP in 2020, the commercial launch sector is gaining momentum. Canada sees itself as strategically well-positioned to leverage its geographic location. Some Canadian startups are already exploring opportunities for launching small payloads, such as SpaceRyde, which employs balloon-lofted small rockets for missions to Low-Earth orbit. By expanding these commercial activities, Canada aims to attract established commercial launch companies, including SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and others, offering them an additional North American take-off option.