SYDNEY, Jun 8: US space agency NASA is set to launch three rockets into space from a private space port in Australia for scientific research.
The rockets will be launched between June 26 and July 12 from the Arnhem Space Centre, which is owned and run by Equatorial Launch Australia, the Guardian reported.
This is going to be the first time that NASA is launching rockets from a commercial facility outside the US, and the first NASA rockets launched from Australia since 1995.
The mission aims to investigate heliophysics, astrophysics and planetary science phenomena only observable from the southern hemisphere, the report said.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived in Darwin after a two-day visit to Indonesia on Wednesday night and will make the space announcement with the NT Chief Minister, Natasha Fyles, on Thursday before returning to Sydney.
“We can trace Australia’s celebrated connection to the space industry back to the 1950s and as a nation we have to build on that legacy,” Albanese was quoted as saying.
“This project will bring together global and local industry to take Australia’s space sector into a new era,” he added.
According to NASA’s Heliophysics Division director Nicky Fox the launches more than 300 kilometres into space would “allow us to explore how a star’s light can influence a planet’s habitability among other things.”
“This commercial launch range in Australia opens up new access to the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky, expanding the possibilities for future science missions,” NASA associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen said.