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Thursday, April 29, 2004
Canadian Arrow: Astronaut centre is looking for a new home after its London facility is sold to a boat maker.
The world's first privately-operated civilian astronaut training centre may take off from London before it ever serves its first customer. The Canadian Arrow Space Centre on Fanshawe Park Road East is looking for a new home.
The facility that houses Canadian Arrow is being taken over by a London business success story, Hudson Boat Works, one of the world's top three racing-boat makers.
And, unless it cuts a deal of co-existence or finds a new city home, Arrow may be headed to another city.
"Everything is up in the air," said Geoff Sheerin, team leader of Canadian Arrow.
"I need to find a new location and I may need to move out of London," he said. "I'm not sure the money we need to propel this project is in this community. So, just from a financial perspective, we may have to move."
Canadian Arrow has been offered financial incentives to move. Windsor and Sarnia have expressed interest.
The company's bad news was delivered at city hall's board of control yesterday, where Sheerin gave an update on the space centre and its progress toward the X Prize.
Aside from training civilian astronauts, the Arrow team is trying to beat 24 other teams in a worldwide race for the $10-million US X Prize, which goes to the first team to launch a manned rocket twice within 14 days at least 100 kilometres into space before a January 2005 deadline.
The prize, privately funded by donors such as author Tom Clancy and actor Tom Hanks, was set up to encourage commercial space travel.
But the big prize for Arrow and London isn't the contest but a new industry -- space tourism.
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