(ORDO NEWS) — NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial site outside of the US lifted off from the Australian outback on Sunday, marking a “historic” moment for the country’s space industry.
In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Center, a rocket carrying technology comparable to the mini-Hubble telescope soared about 350 kilometers into the night sky.
Michael Jones, whose company owns and operates the spaceport in the far north of Australia, called the event a “going publicity” for the country’s space industry.
After a series of delays due to rain and wind, the suborbital sounding rocket took to the skies to study X-rays from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.
After reaching apogee, the rocket’s payload would collect data on star systems and then return to earth by parachute.
Jones said the unique location made preparations more difficult, with years of regulatory approval and the need to ship the missiles on barges to the launch site.
It is the first NASA rocket launched from Australia since 1995 and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the project the start of a “new era” for Australia’s space industry.
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