Friday, October 19, 2018

Maritime Launch Services and the Wider Launch Market

          By Henry Stewart

It's good that Halifax NS based Maritime Launch Services (MLS) made an in-person presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (FINA) Pre-Budget Consultations in Advance of the 2019 Budget.

MLS CEO Matier (left) with and Maksym Degtiarov, the chief designer of the Cyclone 4-M launch vehicle at the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau, talks with reporters in Dartmouth NS on December 11th, 2017. As outlined in the December 11th, 2017 CBC News post, "Proposed Canso rocket site hopes to eventually reach 12 launches per year," MLS has been working closely with designers from the Ukrainian based Yuzhnoye State Design Office. Photo c/o Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press

But if MLS CEO and president Stephen Matier really want to compete on the open launch market and interest the Federal government in supporting Canadian based initiatives, he should take a look at the most recent Space Investment Quarterly, from the New York NY based Space Angels, which covers the third quarter of 2018.

As outlined on the Space Angels website:
In our last issue, we saw growing evidence that 2018 would be the year of small launch and indeed that trend has continued in Q3 2018, with investment in launch now exceeding $1Bln US ($1.3Bln CDN) year-to-date. 
This quarter was also significant for Satellites, with over $370Mln US ($484Mln CDN) flowing into the industry driven by growth in Series B rounds led by venture capital firms, demonstrating their conviction in the tremendous value in scaling this technology.
This suggests strongly that the international launch market, along with the development of the infrastructure needed to move it forward, is growing strongly because of increasing investments from the private sector.

However, at least according to Matier:
Our collective request of the government of Canada is to actively focus their support on the budding industry so that Canada can capture the market share that is obviously ours for the taking. 
Spaceport development and launch vehicle development initiatives in other countries including New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, Mexico and others, are just now gearing up and those governments are finding ways to support the infrastructure development and the launch vehicle development. 
All the assets are here and in place except for active and streamlined government support for this global opportunity. 
As with the other countries and programs mentioned, there are significant numbers of investors ready to participate in the development of the opportunity, now that their governments have openly supported and seeded the initiatives with investment dollars. 
For Maritime Launch Services, and as the language in Connect to Innovate states, we see ourselves as a part of new backbone infrastructure in rural and remote communities across Canada for our launch site development and for our mission to support global broadband priorities. 
Building this infrastructure is the modern equivalent of building roads or railway spurs into rural and remote areas, connecting them to the global economy. This backbone infrastructure is the basis for the launch vehicles and satellites that are needed in today's connected world. 
According to Matier, governments around the world are "gearing up" to prepare for the next space race and the Canadian government should also be preparing to support investment in this area.

According to the Space Angels, a privately held financial services company focused on investments in the aerospace industry, its the private sector which is "gearing up." to invest and grow the market in whichever jurisdiction happens to provide the best conditions for private sector investments.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. One of the legitimate roles of the Federal government is to lower barriers for the creation of new investment opportunities and attract international business.

While this blog has long been critical of MLS and its reliance on "legacy" Russian/ Ukrainian rocket technology for its business model, this is one area where we are both in complete agreement.

Screenshot of the Federal government ParlVu website. To hear the complete audio recording of meeting 171, simply click on this link. Graphic c/o Government of Canada

As outlined on the FINA website, Matier presented to FINA on October 2nd 2018. His presentation is available online as part of the October 2nd, 2018 FINA meeting number 171 on the ParlVu website and takes place from approximately 10.06.15 until approximately 10.17.00. 

A transcript of the presentation is available as part of the October 17th, 2018 SpaceQ post, "Maritime Launch Services Takes it Vision to the Finance Committee in Person."

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Support our Patreon Page