Arrow - with interest blog response

by Jack Ireland, Author of Otter Tales


I read your blog on the Arrow with interest. I lived near Malton at that time and one of my uncles worked on the engine. He was shocked and devastated by the sudden shutdown of the operation and his loss of a job. I used to have a photo of the engine in an old album but not sure if it is still around.

A lot of underground politics were played in the 1950s with Canada basically giving up a leading role in aviation worldwide. In my book I touched on a bit of my time working with Akjuit Aerospace, proponents of a commercial space launch facility at Churchill, Manitoba. Their intent was to make Canada a leading contender in commercial space launch operations. This company had a lot of experienced rocket and space operational people leading it and had developed a viable plan for launching communication satellites into orbit. With the exception of our oversight and support for them from a regional Transport Canada perspective they received very little support from the government. They ran into numerable roadblocks trying to obtain satellite bandwidth as well as political issues on launching rockets. Their plans seemed viable and promising regarding Canada’s potential.

I heard that approval/permission from the USA was a requirement before Canada could launch an orbital/suborbital rocket from Canada. This restriction was based on a government agreement established in the 1950s that may have, in part, related to the US installing Bomarc missiles in Canada. Diefenbaker, and Canada, had no concept of the great potential they agreed to sign off on to keep the US happy. I never believed an agreement made in the 1950s could terminate an effort to build a space launch operation in Canada in the 1990s and later.

This is mostly hearsay I heard over my time working on the project but there were enough things I saw that led me to believe there was no will by the federal government to encourage the creation of a commercial space launch operation in Canada.



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