CRS-7 / Spx-7

Canuck Attempts To Reach Space

Orbital Projects

Project HARP Space Gun (cancelled)

Project HARP (High Altitude Research Project) began as a joint program between Canada and USA to create a super-long-barrel 'gun' capable of shooting sounding probes higher in the atmosphere than weather balloons could travel. The project would eventually set a world record altitude of 180 km for a gun-launched projectile. Creating an orbital-launcher gun was lead scientist Gerry Bull's dream. He wanted to launch satellites for Canada, but the funding ran out in the mid-1960's. In the 1980's Gerry Bull was able to restart his efforts by developing the technology for Iraq, which led to his assassination on 1990 March 22.

Open Space Orbital (active, pre-hardware)

Open Space Orbital was founded in 2014 to develop an orbital launcher to launch microsatellites from Canada. To start development of its first launcher, Neutrino I, it engaged in a kickstarter campaign during the same year.

Orbital Express Using Black Brant Rockets (cancelled)

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, Bristol Aerospace, makers of the successful suborbital Black Brant rockets, teamed up with MicroSat Launch Systems, Inc. to develop a small class (181 kg payload), all solid propellant, orbital launch vehicle based on Black Brant technology. The launch vehicle was eventually deemed financially infeasible for the available market and cancelled. The project has been released as a book titled "The Orbital Express Project of Bristol Aerospace and Microsat Launch Systems, Inc" (1997).

Silver Dart (coma)

PlanetSpace was founded in 2005 as a Chicago-based corporation by Geoff Sheerin, CEO of the Canadian Arrow, and Dr. Chirinjeev Kathuria of Chicago. PlanetSpace entered the NASA COTS competition for transporting cargo to and from the ISS. Their original plan included a spaceplane named Silver Dart, after the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to fly in Canada. It was to launch on an USA Athena III rocket. PlanetSpace failed to win a COTS contract because of funding concerns and has since gone dormant.

Suborbital Projects

Black Brant (successful)

Black Brant is a family of suborbital sounding rockets built in Winnipeg, Manitoba by Bristol Aerospace. Bristol is owned by the Canadian company Magellan Aerospace Corporation. A Black Brant 1 rocket was the first Canadian designed and built rocket to reach space.

The first Black Brant was launched in 1959 at Fort Churchill, Manitoba. Many versions have been created. The latest and most powerful is Black Brant XII, for a maximum altitude of approximately 1500 km or maximum payload of 410 kg. Black Brant rockets are still regularly in use by CSA/ASC and NASA.

Canadian Arrow (coma)

Canadian Arrow corporation was founded in 1999 and was long consider a top contender for the Ansari X-Prize. The reusable spacecraft, "Canadian Arrow", was to be launched more than 100km above the Earth by a reusable two-stage rocket. The first stage was based on the WW2 V2 rocket, with a solid propellant second stage. The first stage main engine "Alchemy" was test fired, but the X-Prize was won be another team and the Canadian Arrow spaceship and rocket have ceased development.

The da Vinci Project (no signficant hardware)

The da Vinci Project - Ansari X-Prize contestant planned to use a RP1/LOX rocket launched from a helium balloon for a suborbital ride with passengers.


Spaceports / Launch Sites

Fort Churchill

The first rocket launch at Fort Churchill occurred in 1954 for upper atmospheric investigation. On 1959 September 5, Fort Churchill was home to the first Black Brant launch, and Canada reached 100km altitude under its own power for the first time. The launch complex at Fort Churchill went on to host well over 3000 launches before shutting down in 1985. During the 1990s, Akjuit Aerospace sought to create "SpacePort Canada" at Fort Churchill using decommisioned Russian ICBMs converted to orbital launchers.

© 2014 Eric Marvin. All rights reserved.