Monday, August 04, 2014

New East Coast Rocket Start-up Announces Kickstarter Campaign

          by Brian Orlotti

A group of Nova Scotia space entrepreneurs have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $100,000 CDN needed to begin building Canada's first orbital micro-satellite launch vehicle. According to Open Space Orbital (OS) founder and CEO Tyler Reyno, the goal is to build and launch rockets to serve the burgeoning international small-sat market and reduce Canada's reliance on other nations for space launches.

A screen shot from the official Open Space Orbital Kickstarter campaign video.  To go to the campaign, please click on the graphic. Image c/o OS

The thirty-two day campaign went live the evening of August 4th and will run until the evening of Friday, September 5th, 2014. As outlined on its Kickstarter website, the funds raised will be used for:
  • Further development of the launch vehicle prototype engine (dubbed "Neutrino") using outsourced components from partners ERFT Composites and Composites Atlantic. Both firms are subsidiaries of the French aerospace/defense giant Safran Group.
  • Preliminary launch vehicle design, which is currently being done in partnership with Continuum Aerospace, an aerospace design and consulting firm in Toronto, ON.
  • Legal services pertaining to facility and launch site property selection, regulatory challenges, and intellectual property through East coast law firm McInnes Cooper.
Founder & CEO Tyler Reyno. Photo c/o OS.
The OS board of directors possesses a wide range of skill-sets and includes the former Canadian Space Agency (CSA) scientist and current Federal Liberal party candidate for Dorval-Lachine-LaSalle, Dr. Alain Berinstain, along with retired Canadian senator and former Nova Scotia premier John Buchanan and retired naval officer and defence consultant Anthony Goode.

OS's engineers are also presented as an experienced group who have honed their skills in many places including the CSA, the National Research Council (NRC), Transport Canada, NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), Roscosmos, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) along with private firms like COMDEV International and others.

In an interview with the Commercial Space blog, Reyno, a recently-graduated mechanical engineer who studied at Dalhousie University, said he has been a passionate and vocal space advocate, even prior to founding OS.

As outlined in the May 14th, 2014 Metro article "One way ticket to Mars—who on Earth wants to go," Reyno was an applicant for the MarsOne project and has also created a series of You-tube videos entitled "Send Nova Scotia to Space," as part of his entry for last year's AXE Apollo Space Academy competition.

According to Reyno, the Crimean Crisis and its affect on Canadian space operations, such as the postponement of the Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Microsatellite (M3MSat), described in the April 28th, 2014 post "M3MSat and the Politics of Dancing in the Crimea," highlight the need for a domestic launch capability.

In addition, Reyno foresees Canadian-built launch vehicles as a means of stimulating both the Canadian and the Maritime economy. He notes that Atlantic Canada is not known as a technology hub and sees space as a path to prosperity for the region.

Brian Orlotti.
Though the Crimean crisis has highlighted the shortsightedness of Canadian space policy, it has also shown us a new path. Now, ordinary citizens, through crowd funding, can help shape our country's future in space.

Perhaps Canadians, long since skilled at making the tools to understand space, will now also begin to build the means to traverse it.

Brian Orlotti is a Toronto-based IT professional and a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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