At the end of the month NASA will launch three space rockets from the NT’s Arnhem Space Centre, marking a historic moment for the American space agency.
It’ll be the first time in their 60+ year history that NASA will launch from a commercial facility that’s outside the US. Between June 26 and July 12, three research rockets will be launched into space with the intention of investigating heliophysics, astrophysics and planetary science phenomena’s that only happen in the Southern Hemisphere.
This mission marks the first time a rocket has been launched from Australia since 1995.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was in Darwin, where he commented on the importance of the occasion.
“We can trace Australia’s celebrated connection to the space industry back to the 1950s. As a nation we have to build on that legacy.
“This project will bring together global and local industry to take Australia’s space sector into a new era.”
Permission was sought from the Gumatj people, the traditional owners of the Dhupuma Plateau, where the Arnhem Space Centre is located. It’s expected that over 70 personnel from NASA will make the trip down to Australia to oversee the launches.
Albanese gave details on the trajectory of the rockets.
“These rockets will go some 250km north into the sky to collect data on the physics of the sun and its relationship with the earth.”
The rockets measure in at about 13 metres each.
Arnhem Space Centre is privately owned and operated by Equatorial Launch Australia but Australian Space Agency boss Enrico Palermo mentioned that this initiative will help to bring more space related business down under.
“This is another signal that Australia is go for launch and will further cement our reputation as a nation that global space players want to do business with.”
“The growth of launch-related activities in Australia is helping to open up the full value chain of space activities, which will grow the sector and create new businesses and job opportunities here at home.”