NASA launches the first rocket from a spaceport in Australia
Monday – 28 Dhul Qi’dah 1443 AH – 27 June 2022 AD Issue No. [
Sydney: «Middle East»
The US Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) launched a rocket from the remote desert in northern Australia yesterday evening (Sunday), in the first commercial launch into space in Australia, and the agency’s first from a commercial spaceport, according to “Reuters”.
Australian National University astrophysicist Brad Tucker said Australia’s dry environment and proximity to the equator provide ideal conditions for space launches. He added: “There are not many places close to the equator like Arnhem, which is 12 degrees away from it (only), and there are not, in particular, places close to the equator, where the air is dry and stable. Florida, where Cape Canaveral is located, is somewhat swampy,” he said, referring to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
NASA said three launches from Arnhem Space Center in June and July will help it explore how the light of a star can affect a planet’s habitability.
Today’s mission will carry detectors to measure X-rays produced by the hot gases that fill the space between stars, to help study how they affect the formation and evolution of galaxies, NASA added in a statement.
The second and third missions in July, Tucker said, will monitor Alpha Centauri, the closest star to Earth and the closest to the Southern Cross constellation that appears on the Australian flag. The constellation and “Alpha Centauri” can only be seen in the sky of the southern hemisphere.
“The big goal is to find out if there are Earth-like planets around it,” he explained. He added that scientists have been waiting for 10 years to launch a missile from the southern hemisphere.
NASA is the first customer of the commercial spaceport operated by Equatorial Launch Australia, and 70 NASA employees have traveled to Australia for the three missions.