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‘Historic’: Why NASA’s rocket launch from Australia is special?- Newshubweek

‘Historic’: Why NASA’s rocket launch from Australia is special?- Newshubweek
Written by Arindam

It was a ‘historic’ moment for Australia’s space industry on Sunday when NASA conducted its first-ever launch outside the United States. Speaking on the launch, Michael Jones, CEO of Equatorial Launch Australia which owns and operates the launch site, sounded elated saying, “It is a momentous occasion for us as a company in particular, but it’s historic for Australia.” Meanwhile, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted that from the start, the project was hailed as the beginning of a “new era” for the country’s space industry. This was the first NASA rocket to launch from Australia since 1995

Here is all that you need to know about the launch:

  • In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Centre, the rocket, carrying technology likened to a “mini Hubble” telescope, lifted off — blasted about 350 kilometres (218 miles) into the night sky.
  • After a series of rain and wind delays, the suborbital-sounding rocket soared into the sky to study x-rays emanating from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.
  • After reaching its apogee, the rocket’s payload was to capture data on the star systems before parachuting back to earth.

According to NASA, the launch offers a unique glimpse of the distant systems and unlocked fresh possibilities for scientists. “We’re excited to be able to launch important science missions from the Southern Hemisphere and see targets that we can’t from the United States,” Nicky Fox, NASA’s Heliophysics Division director in Washington, said on announcing the mission.

Noting that preparing for the launch in this unique location was hard, Jones told the news agency AFP, that regulatory approvals took years. “I think for the team, it’s gonna be, you know, a huge relief that it’s done,” he said.

But with the next launch already looming on July 4, the break would be short-lived. “We need to, you know, dust ourselves off, take a day off and then get back into it in readiness for the next launch because it’s just as important.”

Jones also noted the event to be a “coming out” party for the country’s space industry and said the chance to work with NASA was a milestone for commercial space firms in the country.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

 

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Arindam

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