A Canadian town of 13,000 people wants a rocket startup to stop testing its engines there.
Residents of Trent Hills, an Ontario town about two hours east of Toronto, are asking private rocket company SpaceRyde to halt engine testing in the area, and the municipality has sought legal advice to help to achieve this result, according to local reports.
“The sound can be heard for many miles and startle anyone nearby. Horses can run away and pets are in distress. Wildlife is disturbed,” a petition alleges. (opens in a new tab) n Change.org which had been signed up by more than 700 people on Tuesday (November 8).
“Life safety is at risk as the startling noise can cause anyone riding, cycling, motorcycling, working on a ladder or roof to momentarily lose concentration as they process the alarming sound” , adds the petition.
SpaceRyde Marketing Manager Jen Scholten declined to comment on the petition and reports when requested by Space.com on Monday (November 7). “A lot has happened since it was published,” Scholten said, but didn’t elaborate.
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In early October, the Municipality of Trent Hills referred the situation to legal counsel, asking “the owner and occupier of the site [for] a commitment to voluntarily cease rocket engine testing at the site,” local newspaper Trent Hills Now said. (opens in a new tab) wrote.
The municipality alleges that SpaceRyde failed to disclose its plans for engine testing in its planning application for setting up a facility at the site, which is near two major county roads. The allegations have not been proven in court, and SpaceRyde said in reports (opens in a new tab) that the rocket engine testing was covered by an incidental use of the property.
In a comment to Trent Hills Now (opens in a new tab) in September, SpaceRyde co-founder Sohrab Haghighat noted that the 100-decibel engine test noise is brief, infrequent, and equivalent to a large truck briefly revving its engine on a road.
SpaceRyde always notifies local residents before testing happens, Haghighat said, and added that a local man told him the noise “is the sound of progress. It’s the sound of Canada making itself a day in space (with) its own rocket”.
SpaceRyde opened a 25,000 square foot (2,300 square meter) facility in Concord in June and invited the media as well as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. The privately funded company has around 30 employees, according to media reports, and was founded in 2018. It aims to create a three-stage rocket that would fly into the stratosphere on a balloon, before firing its engines.
The city’s dispute with SpaceRyde comes as Canada rapidly develops its rocket industry. The Government of Canada is considering a spaceport in Nova Scotia that aims to begin suborbital launches next year. Several Toronto-area companies are ramping up rocket manufacturing after years or decades of manufacturing parts for American companies.
The small space industry in Canada is also growing as bigger projects take root in the community, such as the Canadian Space Agency’s commitment to put astronauts and hardware on lunar missions like NASA’s Artemis 2. , which aims to send people around the moon in 2024.
Elizabeth Howell is co-author of “Why am I taller (opens in a new tab)?” (ECW Press, 2022; with Canadian astronaut Dave Williams), a book on space medicine. Follow her on Twitter @howellspace (opens in a new tab). Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) Where Facebook (opens in a new tab).
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