NASA’s Historic Rocket Launch From Australia Was a Success

The historic NASA launch was carried out from the ASC, operated by ELA 7 photos
Photo: Instagram/ELA
The historic NASA launch took place at the ASC Spaceport in AustraliaThe historic NASA launch took place at the ASC Spaceport in AustraliaThe next rockets are gearing up for launch in JulyThe next rockets are gearing up for launch in JulyThe historic NASA launch took place at the ASC Spaceport in AustraliaThe historic NASA launch took place at the ASC Spaceport in Australia
The day of June 26, 2022, will be remembered in the history of space exploration forever. It was a double premiere – NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial spaceport outside the U.S., as well as Australia’s first rocket launch in more than 25 years.
At 11.59 pm (Australian Central Standard Time) on Sunday, a BBIX rocket carrying “an atmospheric observation/sensing platform” for the study of the Alpha Centauri A & B constellations was launched. Although it stayed in space for only 15 minutes, this rocket wrote history.

It’s a first for both NASA, which has now opened the way for rocket launches from commercial spaceports in different parts of the world, and for Australia, which is gearing up to play a leading role in the rapidly-growing space economy.

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) operates the Arnhem Space Center (ASC) in Australia’s Northern Territory. This is where the historic launch took place. The site’s importance is owed to the fact that it’s the first and only commercially-run equatorial launch site in the world. This is why it was chosen for three NASA rocket launches that will conduct astrophysics studies that can only be carried out from the Southern Hemisphere, according to ELA.

This was the first launch from the series and will be followed by two more, on July 4 and July 12. The Australian Financial Review reports that around 80 NASA personnel were present at the launch site. The rocket reached 186 miles (300 km) in space and gathered precious data during its 15-minute mission.

ELA was founded in 2015 and has managed to get this far without any governmental grants. NASA is its first client, but it claims to be in discussions with nine other rocket companies. The goal is to reach 50 launches per year, in just three years.

Until then, this first historic launch and the other two that will soon follow are paving the way not just for the private space industry in Australia, but also for a wider access to space in general. The continual growth of commercial spaceports is moving the power from governments to private companies, for future space operations.

Another thing that makes the ASC site so special is that it’s located on the land of the Gumatj people, who have leased it to ELA and also given their blessing for this historic event, according to the BBC.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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