NASA has successfully launched a rocket from the Arnhem Space Center in the Northern Territory of Australia, marking its first commercial space launch on Monday.
CNN reported that the Equatorial Launch Australia said the rocket blasted off after midnight on Monday from the Arnhem Space Center on the Dhupuma Plateau and will fly more than 300 kilometers into space on its mission to observe the Alpha Centauri A and B constellations.
Michael Jones, executive chairman and group CEO of Equatorial Launch Australia, expressed his gratitude to NASA.
“We could never have dreamed of having such a supportive, experienced, and professional partner as NASA. They have been unbelievably generous in helping us through this journey, and we will be a much better organization for their support,” Jones said.
Australian National University astrophysicist Brad Tucker, who was on-site to watch the launch, said the rocket took off after a delay of more than an hour due to wind and rain.
“At that final time, nearly everyone ran outside to see the launch and watch in awe. Even after we lost sight of the rocket, people stood outside for such a long time,” Tucker said.
Tucker said the suborbital missions were designed to study the Alpha Centauri A and B constellations and whether any habitable planets existed in the area.
NASA said the mission will study the evolution of galaxies by measuring X-rays emitted by hot gases that fill the space between stars.
NASA’s launch on Monday was the first of three launches, with the remaining two launches planned for July 4 and July 12.
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