The base of the stratospheric balloon could expand

Ongoing work could see the base of the stratospheric balloon expand.

A $125,000 contract has been awarded to L360 Architecture to be the design and contract administration consultant for the expansion of the Timmins Stratospheric Balloon Base. The Board approved the item at its January 11 meeting.

The facility is located at Timmins Victor M. Power Airport in a secure area near MNR buildings. The city owns the base, which is leased to the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). Stratospheric balloon launches are a partnership between the CSA and the French space agency.

The expansion would give scientists more space to work on the payloads, especially at the start of launches when there are weather delays or multiple projects underway.

Airport manager Dave Dayment said the CSA is considering relocating an antenna and adding an elevator to the building that houses its offices and launch window. CSA also wants to add a second payload integration building.

Design and administration is the first phase of the expansion, with the second phase being the request for proposals for the new building. Although the cost is not in this year’s budget, the staff report indicates that it would be recovered through a new ground lease.

The city is working with Public Works Canada for a new ground lease, Dayment said.

He said the construction phase that took place about six or seven years ago has already been paid for and expanded with the addition of five ATCO trailers.

“They paid for all this infrastructure and upgrades,” he said.

Once the request for proposals for the new building is completed, Dayment said the CSA will decide whether or not to proceed with the expansion based on cost.

The first stratospheric balloon campaign in Timmins in 2013 was a qualifying campaign.

Launches also took place in 2014, 2015 and 2019.

For a better idea of ​​what the stratospheric base does, check out a story about the 2019 launch here.