New York, Europe Brief News – Nasa launched its first rocket from Australian commercial spaceport.
Nasa made history as it launched its first rocked from a commercial spaceport outside the US.
The launch was also the first in Australia in more than 25 years.
The rocket is Nasa’s first of three to blast off from the newly constructed Arnhem Space Centre.
Scientists hope it will help them study the impact of a star’s light on the habitability of nearby planets.
Onlookers who travelled to the remote site glimpsed the rocket for only about 10 seconds before it shot out of view.
“It was in the blink of an eye. But to me, it was like it was in slow motion because the whole area just lit up,” Yirrkala School co-principal Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“It went up, and then the sound, it was just like a rumbling boom, like nothing I’ve ever heard. And I just shook with amazement.”
The sounding rocket’s tenure in space was similarly short. The 13m-long projectile fell back to Earth after a planned 15 minutes.
But the data gathered by the mission’s X-ray camera in that time will help illuminate the secrets of Alpha Centauri A and B. The closest double-star system to Earth that is located just 4.3 light-years away.
Northern Territory Chief Minister Natasha Fyles hailed the launch as an “extremely proud” moment for Australia, adding it was conducted with the blessing of the region’s Aboriginal traditional owners.
“Here on Yolngu land, young Territorians can look up at the sky and know what can be done.”