Report – Spaceport Nova Scotia Would Have a Positive Economic Effect

Launching Canada’s Space Sector: Economic Impact of Spaceport Nova Scotia. Image Credit: Conference Board of Canada.

A new economic impact report by the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) states that Maritime Launch Services’ Spaceport Nova Scotia will a positive economic benefit for the region and Canada.

The report by the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC) think tank, Launching Canada’s Space Sector: Economic Impact of Spaceport Nova Scotia, was published today and provided six key findings.

  • Maritime Launch is building Canada’s first commercial spaceport in Nova Scotia. We expect project spinoff benefits to sectors such as construction, transportation, and professional, scientific, and technical services from Spaceport Nova Scotia to spread to other regions throughout Canada.
  • In total, we expect the construction of Spaceport Nova Scotia to contribute $171 million to Canada’s GDP and boost employment by an average of 1,608 annual full-year jobs across Canada, with 748 of those jobs within the province of Nova Scotia.
  • Once Spaceport Nova Scotia fully ramps up its operations, we project it will add around $300 million to Canada’s GDP annually, boost revenue to governments by more than $100 million, and create close to 1,000 annual full-year jobs across Canada.
  • All told, the projected tangible benefits associated with the construction and operation of Spaceport Nova Scotia will provide a much-needed boost to the broader Atlantic Canada region.
  • While outside the scope of this project, it may not be far-fetched to expect that the additional tourism demand associated with Spaceport Nova Scotia will attract new tourism infrastructure
    in the region.
  • The possibility also exists that Spaceport Nova Scotia will be seen as a hub for research and innovation activity in the space industry, leading the expansion of Canada’s expertise in this growing area.
Artist illustration of the Maritime Launch Services launch control centre
Artist illustration of the Maritime Launch Services launch control centre. Credit: Maritime Launch Services.

The Conference Board of Canada think tank is the largest economic research organization in Canada having been founded in 1954. For this report four members of Conference Board of Canada contributed to the research: Gregory Hermus, Principal Economist; Alishba Rasheed, Economist; Jidny Shoummo, Economist; and Duangsuda Sopchokchai, Associate Director.

The Conference Board of Canada economic impact methodology was outlined in part as follows.

Launching Canada’s Space Sector: Economic Impact of Spaceport Nova Scotia The economic impact analysis quantifies the economic impact related to different phases of activity at Spaceport Nova Scotia, including benefits associated with the supply chain throughout Canada. Data on Canso Spaceport Facility Project spending were provided by Maritime Launch. Economic impacts were quantified using our internal model of the Canadian and provincial economies, which incorporate Statistics Canada’s input-output tables. The simulations produced from the model generate economic impacts by distinct impact phase, including the direct, indirect, and induced impact from the construction and operations phase inclusive of tourism (pleasure and business) activity.

The report will come as welcome news to Maritime Launch Services as they proceed in phased approach in building out the spaceport.

Of note, the Conference Board of Canada stated that they “expect construction to span three years and to cost $275 million.” Maritime Launch Services does not yet have the funding to complete spaceport construction. However, this report will clearly boost their efforts in raising the needed funds.

Of the $275 million estimated construction costs the report states that “an estimated $94 million (34 per cent) will go to Nova Scotia businesses in the form of contracted work and/ or direct purchases. A further $72 million (26 per cent) will go to Canadian businesses outside Nova Scotia.”

With respect to operations, the Conference Board of Canada states that “Once Spaceport Nova Scotia is fully ramped up (in this case in 2027), we expect business operations to generate $501 million in expenditures. Of that, we project that $50 million, or 10 per cent, will stay in Nova Scotia (including salaries for Maritime Launch employees), with a further $10 million (2 per cent) going toward other Canadian businesses located outside Nova Scotia. We expect the remainder, $441 million (88 per cent), to go to businesses located outside Canada.”

Tourism and regional development are also cited as areas of economic impact. This includes launch viewing, school trips and the development of an “Experience Centre,” something Maritime Launch Services has discussed in the past and which could be located at the launch control centre.

Another benefit cited which would have direct impact on education, the report states that “a further downstream benefit of Spaceport Nova Scotia might be related to inspiring more Nova Scotia students to pursue STEM careers as they visit the launch site and become interested in space exploration. Spaceport Nova Scotia could also be seen as a hub for research and innovation activity in the space industry within Canada, leading the expansion of Canada’s expertise in the space industry.”

With respect to regional development, the report in part states, “we expect domestic launch capacity to lessen the regulatory and logistical challenges faced by Canadian companies looking to launch satellites. For years, Canada has relied upon foreign launching states such as the United States and Russia. As a result, Canadian companies have had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for commercial space flight operations, including licences for launch operators and satellites. Having domestic launch capacity could reduce the costs associated with obtaining such licences, as well as other logistical costs. Reductions in cost and logistical challenges could provide a competitive advantage, particularly for Canadian companies looking to launch satellites. This competitive advantage could result in more Canadian businesses launching satellites, which could itself create additional activity around the logistics and potential support activities associated with launches.”

A lot of what is mentioned in the report won’t come as a surprise to those understand the economic importance of spaceports as the space industry grows. A good analogy is that of shipping hubs, whether for sea going vessels or air freight.

The Conference Board of Canada report on the impact economic of Spaceport Nova Scotia provides additional credibility to the development of a spaceport in Canada and how the space sector can continue to have a positive and growing impact on Canada’s economy.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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