US-Canadian space transportation company PlanetSpace appears to have found an unlikely benefactor to help fund development of a planned spaceport for the company in Nova Scotia, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail reported Friday. Lockheed Martin is reportedly offering to contribute $45 million over six years to help pay for the development of a spaceport on Cape Breton, about a third the cost of the overall project. It’s part of a complicated transaction that starts with a deal by the Canadian government to purchase 17 C-130 cargo planes from the company; as part of the deal, Lockheed has to invest the purchase price, $3.2 billion, in “the form of regional benefits”, according to the paper, and the spaceport showed up on Lockheed’s proposed list of investments.
The particular form of Lockheed’s contribution would be “to invest the money on Athena rockets that would propel the PlanetSpace craft into space”; as noted here earlier this week, PlanetSpace is studying the use of Lockheed’s planned-but-never-built Athena 3 rocket as a launch vehicle for PlanetSpace’s COTS proposal. PlanetSpace has hired a lobbyist, Fred Doucet (described by the paper as “former prime minister Brian Mulroney’s chief of staff and political troubleshooter”), to help the company secure the investment.