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NASA launches its first rocket Down Under in 27 years

NASA launches its first rocket Down Under in 27 years, with the local indigenous community playing a key role in the historic mission

  • First commercial space launch for NASA launched in Australia on Sunday night
  • The missile is number one of three launched from the Northern Territory
  • Arnham Space Center was built with the help of local Aboriginal owners
  • The launch was significantly delayed due to high winds in the area

NASA has successfully launched a rocket from the remote wilderness of the Northern Territory – the first commercial space launch in Australia’s history.

Violent winds caused the countdown to be interrupted several times before the first of three planned rockets was finally launched Monday morning at about 11:30 am local time – towards the end of a three-hour launch window – from the Arnhem Space Center on the Dhupuma Plateau. , near Nhulunbuy.

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

It will carry an X-ray Quantum Calorimeter, which will allow scientists at the University of Michigan to measure interstellar X-rays with precision to gain new data about the structure and evolution of the cosmos.

About 75 NASA employees are in Arnhem Land for the launch, the first in Australia in 27 years and the first from a commercial spaceport outside the US.

One of three rockets that NASA will launch from the Arnhem Space Center in the Northern Territory of Australia (pictured)

One of three rockets that NASA will launch from the Arnhem Space Center in the Northern Territory of Australia (pictured)

The Arnhem Space Center can be seen on the Gove Peninsula in Australia's Northern Territory (pictured)

The Arnhem Space Center can be seen on the Gove Peninsula in Australia’s Northern Territory (pictured)

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

They also participate in the upcoming launch, which includes retrieving rocket modules when they return to Earth.

Gumatj Corporation chairman Djawa Yunupingu says the space industry can provide opportunities for the Yolngu people.

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

Satellite dish seen at the Arnhem Space Center where NASA will launch three rockets (photo)

Satellite dish seen at the Arnhem Space Center where NASA will launch three rockets (photo)

NSA will launch two more missiles from the ELA complex on July 4 and 12.

They will have a probe to measure ultraviolet light and the structure of stars.

NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles says the launch will help attract global space investors to the area, creating jobs.

“The launch of a rocket from Arnhem Land is an incredible milestone for Australia in establishing the Northern Territory as a launch site and a major player in space exploration,” she said in a statement.

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

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