Today’s issue of the Halifax (Nova Scotia) Daily News provides an update on PlanetSpace and its plans to establish a spaceport in the Cape Breton region of the province. A couple curious things come out of the article: it states that “the Chicago-based company has signed one contract with NASA and is said to be very close to signing another”, according to an official with the province’s business development corporation. The deal that has been signed is with NASA Marshall and is for “co-development of hardware”; presumably this is the Space Act Agreement the company has previously indicated it has with NASA. The other in negotiations right now, though, is with the COTS office at JSC and “should be signed shortly”, according to the article. It’s not clear what sort of contract that would be, since PlanetSpace wasn’t a finalist for the original COTS awards. If it’s another Space Act agreement or small-scale study agreement of some kind, is PlanetSpace the only venture to get one or are other companies, including the finalists who didn’t get awards, also getting something similar? PlanetSpace isn’t saying: they failed to respond to several requests for details by the newspaper.
The article also quotes Cecil Clarke, the member of provincial parliament who represents the Cape Breton North area, as saying that because there has been a lack of criticism of the company’s vehicle plans, they must be sound: “Usually with the aerospace or aeronautics community, if there was question as to the validity of the project, usually there would be sharp criticism of it. I don’t recall nor have I seen, any experts in the industry saying that what they’re talking about is not feasible.” The problem with this assessment is that PlanetSpace has released few details about their plans, therefore, there is little out there to criticize (other than the lack of information, which is understandable and not unique to PlanetSpace.)