NASA, ELA conduct the first commercial space launch in Australia

NASA, ELA conduct the first commercial space launch in Australia

Australia’s first-ever commercial space launch will take place on Sunday evening, June 26, 2022

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), the developer, owner, and operator of the Arnhem Space Center (ASC) on the Gove Peninsula in Australia’s Northern Territory has announced that its client, NASA, will conduct the first-ever space launch in Australia.


Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese officially announced the launch on Wednesday during his visit to Darwin.

“It’s great to be here in Darwin today to announce Equatorial Launch Australia, and NASA [are a] go for launch here in the Northern Territory,” he said at a news conference.

The landmark launch is also NASA’s first launch from a fully commercial spaceport. It will be one of three rocket launches, with the others scheduled for July 4 and 12, to conduct astrophysical studies that can only be done in the Southern Hemisphere.

A contract to launch three research rockets for NASA was first announced in 2019, originally planned for 2020 but postponed due to pandemic constraints.

Arnhem Space Center is the world’s only commercial multi-user equatorial launch site, located 12 degrees south of the equator in the Gulf of Carpentaria, offering unique advantages for space launches. CSA is also unique in that most spaceports are federal/state facilities.

Michael Jones, ELA Executive Chairman and Group CEO said that while these historic NASA launches were a huge milestone for ELA, the company was already looking to the future after the milestone campaign.

“Having NASA as our first customer is not only a great endorsement of our spaceport, but it also puts us at the forefront of global commercial space and proves that through ELA and the ASC, Australia now has sovereign launch capability and access to space,” said Mr. Jones.

“It is a tremendous honor and reward for our company’s hard work in developing the ASC to have NASA launch these three missions with us.”

“This campaign is just the beginning for us as we are in commercial discussions with nine other major rocket companies. We hope to make at least two additional launches by 2022 before increasing our launch frequency to over 50 launches per year by 2024. / 25,” said Mr. Jones.

ELA and the Arnhem Space Center recently received their Launch Facilities License and Launch Permit for the NASA campaign following a two-year evaluation by the Australian Space Agency.

“The three NASA launches mark the end of the first phase of developing the ASC spaceport and ELA as a world-class launch services company. We will begin developing Phase 2 of the ASC, including the construction of additional larger launch pads for medium/larger payload rockets,” said Mr. Jones.

“The geographic location, proximity to the equator, and the extensive logistics services offered in the Gove/Nhulunbuy area make the ASC highly attractive to global rocket companies and enable us to provide a commercially attractive alternative to the equatorial launch site of the French government in Kourou in French Guiana,” continued Mr. Jones.

“The ASC offers Australian aerospace and international rocket and satellite companies a unique opportunity to launch from a location that provides cost-effective access to virtually any orbit they want,” said M.r Jones.

“I would like to acknowledge the support from NAS and our employees and investors, including the Northern Territory Government,t, for their support and dedication. From the federal government. It is a remarkable achievement what we have done, and all the more so as we have had no support to date. We haven’t made any bold predictions in the past, we just went about our business quietly, and now we’re on the cusp of some incredible firsts in Australia’s space history,” said Mr. Jones.

Space Connect reported earlier this week that ELA is preparing to welcome more than 70 NASA employees arriving from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to support Australia’s first upcoming commercial space launch.

The three launch charges

First launch

The June 26 launch will carry the X-ray quantum calorimeter or XQC.

XQC will carry unique X-ray detectors, cooled to an icy twentieth degree above absolute zero, to measure interstellar X-rays with unprecedented accuracy to better understand the interstellar medium and its influence on the structure and evolution of galaxies and stars.

The atmospheric observation/acquisition platform will be the constellations Alpha Centauri A & B . to observe

Second launch

The second launch is the Suborbital Imaging Spectrograph for the Transition Region Irradiance of Near Exoplanet Host Stars, or SISTINE, scheduled to launch on July 4.

SISTINE will investigate how ultraviolet light from stars affects the atmospheres of planets around them, including gases believed to be signs of life.

Third launch

The third launch, slated to launch on July 12, is the Dual-Channel Extreme Ultraviolet Continuum Experiment, or DEUCE.

DEUCE will measure a previously untapped portion of their extreme ultraviolet light spectrum. These measurements are needed to model stars similar to our sun and smaller and to understand their effects on planetary atmospheres.

Launch Mission – Background Information

The launch of the BBIX rocket will travel more than 300 km into space.

BBIX’s first stage and payload return to Earth and are recovered.

The rockets will be visible to the local community and surrounding areas just seconds after launch — about 150 meters into the sky before they leave Earth’s atmosphere.

Public viewing notice

For security reasons, getting a close look at the missile launch from the ASC is impossible.