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Red Tape and Rockets

Published by Robin on Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:18 pm
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Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log Aug. 17, 2005 | 9 p.m. ET

Cape Rich hasn’t yet turned into Canada’s Cape Canaveral, but the entrepreneurs behind PlanetSpace say it’s only a matter of time, engineering and paperwork.

Canadian Arrow team leader Geoff Sheerin, one of the partners in PlanetSpace, announced back in June that Cape Rich in Ontario had been selected as the launch test site for the Arrow suborbital rocket, and that tests of the rocket’s escape tower system could begin in late August.

This week, Sheerin and his PlanetSpace partner, Indian-American millionaire Chirinjeev Kathuria, said their plans were progressing, although the schedule for the test launches might have to slip into autumn. “The September-October time period is really the window that we’ll end up likely getting,” Sheerin told me.

Right now, the most pressing item is the environmental study for the test range, which is primarily under the control of the Canadian Forces’ Meaford training center. PlanetSpace must also coordinate the test activities with other local authories, and gain a permit from Transport Canada’s Launch Safety Office.

“It’s not the technology that’s going to hold us up. It’ll be the bureaucracy,” Sheerin said.

(continued at Cosmic Log)

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