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ELA launches NASA rocket in Australia’s first ever commercial space launch

Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA), the developer, owner and operator of the Arnhem Space Centre (ASC) on the Gove Peninsula in Australia’s Northern Territory, has successfully completed Australia’s first commercial space launch with NASA.

The launch took place at 12:00am (ACST) and saw a NASA BBIX rocket travel over 300 kms in space, carrying an atmospheric observation/sensing platform to observe the AlphaCentauri A & B constellations.

The historic launch was NASA’s first from a fully commercial spaceport and is the first of three, with the latter two planned for 4 and 12 July, to conduct astrophysics studies that can only be done from the Southern Hemisphere.

The Arnhem Space Centre is the only commercially owned and run multi-user equatorial launch site in the world and is located 12 degrees south of the Equator on the Gulf of Carpentaria, offering unique benefits for space launches. ASC is also unique as most spaceports are government owned and operated facilities.

Michael Jones, Executive Chairman and Group CEO of ELA, said it was a historic night for ELA as it celebrated the first of many successful launches to happen at the Arnhem Space Centre: “Today, we have achieved a remarkable feat and made a huge mark in the history of Australia’s journey in space. Today’s launch not only puts ELA at the forefront of global commercial space launch, it also confirms that we and Australia can provide access to space and this is just the beginning for us.

“In the lead up to the launch, I was consistently asked if I was excited,” added Mr Jones. “I can officially now say I’m excited, both about the success of our launch but also for the future of ELA and the Australian space industry.

“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 organisation for their support.”

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