‘Incredible milestone’: Nasa launches rocket from Australian space centre

Nasa has successfully launched a rocket from the Territori del Nord – the first commercial space launch in Australia’s history.

Troublesome winds caused the countdown to be aborted several times before the first of three scheduled rockets launched at about half past midnight (ACST) on Monday from the Arnhem Space Centre on the Dhupuma Plateau, near Nhulunbuy.

It is the space agency’s first launch from a commercial spaceport outside the US and will help scientists study how a star’s light can influence a planet’s habitability.

The rocket is carrying an X-ray quantum calorimeter, which will allow University of Michigan scientists to measure interstellar X-rays with precision and provide new data on the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

Di 75 Nasa personnel were in Arnhem Land for the launch, the agency’s first in Australia in 27 anni.

Nasa last launched from Australia in 1995, when its rockets lifted off from the Royal Australian Air Force Woomera range complex in South Australia.

The Yolngu helped build the Arnhem Space Centre, which is owned by Equatorial Launch Australia, on their land.

They’re taking part in future launches and projects, including retrieving rocket modules when they return to Earth.

The Gumatj Corporation chair, Djawa Yunupingu, said the space industry can provide opportunities for the Yolngu people.

“We want our young people to see and take up the jobs and business opportunities that come from the growth of the Arnhem Space Centre over time,” he said in a statement.

Nasa will launch another two rockets from the space centre on 4 e 12 luglio.

Those rockets will be carrying probes to measure ultraviolet light and the structure of stars.

The NT chief minister, Natasha Fyles, said the launch will help attract global space investors to the territory, which will provide jobs.

“The launching of a rocket from Arnhem Land is an incredible milestone for Australia in establishing the Northern Territory as a launch site and an important player in space exploration,"ha detto in una dichiarazione.

“Working with the Gumatj people in launching the rockets into space combines one of the oldest cultures in the world with some of the most advanced technology ever.”

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