More than 70 NASA personnel, together with the rockets, arrived in Nhulunbuy this month to prepare for the 3 rocket launches scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. The first of this anticipated series is scheduled for this weekend!
Arnhem Space Centre’s launch schedule *:
- June 26th at 10:44pm
- July 4th at 8:24pm
- July 12th at 8:27pm
Good news for residents in Nhulunbuy and the surrounding areas – the rockets will be visible approximately 10 seconds after launch. Make sure you have a direct line of sight into the sky as the rockets can be seen for approximately 30 seconds, subject to weather conditions.
*Please note that during these times, the Arnhem Space Centre and surrounding areas, including the Garma site will not be accessible to the public, however Central Arnhem Road will remain open at all times.
Equatorial Launch Australia will also be holding an information night on the 23rd of June at the back lawns of the Walkabout, at 5.30pm for a 6pm start.
About the first rocket launch – June 26th
The University of Wisconsin’s X-ray Quantum Calorimeter (XQC) is the first of the NASA rocket launches scheduled for the 26th June 2022 at 10:44pm.
Its purpose is to observe the Galactic soft X-ray bulge and attempt to determine its nature and emission mechanisms. The night sky glows with X-ray light coming from all directions and much of this X-ray light is produced by the interstellar medium, which includes hot gases filling the space between the stars.
The unique X-ray detectors on this mission, cooled to a frigid one-twentieth of a degree above absolute zero, will measure the arriving X-rays with unprecedented precision to better understand the interstellar medium and its influence on the structure and evolution of galaxies and stars.
About the second rocket launch – July 4th
The University of Colorado’s SISTINE (Suborbital Imaging Spectrograph for Transition region Irradiance from Nearby Exoplanet host stars) is the second of the three NASA rocket launches scheduled for the 4th July 2022 at 8:24pm.
This experiment uses a telescope designed to enable studies of the ultraviolet radiation environment around low-mass stars and the effects of that UV on potential exoplanet atmospheres.
It will study how light from stars affects the atmospheres of the planets around them, including the gases thought to be signs of life. For the upcoming flight, SISTINE will measure the ultraviolet light output from the Procyon A, a nearby F-type star (slightly larger and hotter than the Sun) and one of our best examples of this kind of star for exoplanet studies.
About the third rocket launch – July 12th
The University of Colorado’s DEUCE (Dual-channel Extreme Ultraviolet Continuum Experiment) is the third and final NASA rocket launch scheduled for 12th July 2022 at 8:27pm from the Arnhem Space Centre.
Its purpose is to observe the galaxy of ɑ Centauri A+B, a binary star system composed of G and K stars. DEUCE will view the target in the 500 – 900 A spectral range.
DEUCE will observe α Centauri A and B of the three-star α Centauri system, the closest stars to our Sun. DEUCE will measure a so-far unstudied part of their extreme ultraviolet light spectrum. These measurements are needed to model stars similar to and smaller than our Sun, as well as understand their effects on planetary atmospheres.