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NASA Successfully Launches Its First Rocket On Australian Soil In More Than 25 Years

NASA Successfully Launches Its First Rocket On Australian Soil In More Than 25 Years

It's a massive step forward for Australia's space program.

The Arnhem Space Centre, located in the Northern Territory, has become the site of NASA’s first commercial spaceport launch outside of the United States. 

Just after the clock struck midnight on 26 June, the rocket took flight, beginning its journey to explore the depths of space

Arnhem Space Centre Launch 

The Arnhem Space Centre is located just outside of Nhulunbuy on the lands of the Yolngu people.

It is Australia’s first commercially owned spaced launch site, and has the capacity to launch up to 50 rockets, satellites and spacecraft a year.

The rocket was equipped with an X-ray quantum calorimeter, a tool which astronomers and scientists will use to study the evolution of our galaxy. 

Australia’s unique position in the southern hemisphere allows NASA to observe and measure galactic phenomenons that can only be seen from Down Under. 

Northern Territory Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles, also hopes the collaboration between NASA and Australia will provide industry growth and job opportunities for the local communities. 

What’s next for space exploration in Australia?

In addition to this first launch, NASA is hoping to successfully launch another two rockets throughout July. 

The two missions, scheduled for July 4 and July 12, will focus on the effect starlight has on a planet's atmosphere.

Their focus will be on two nearby stars, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, with hopes to find planets that may be suitable to support life

Australia has always played a crucial role in our quest to understand and explore the universe.

From the Parkes Observatory’s involvement in Apollo 11, to the opening of the Australian Space Agency headquarters in February 2020.

And now, with the opening of the Arnhem Space Centre, Australia continues to be at the forefront of space exploration. 

Featured Image Credit: Bill Ingalls/NASA