One Lift Off, Two To Go – ELA’s First Rocket Launch

Australia Rocket Launch

Congratulations Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA) for the first successful launch from Arnhem Space Centre – a prelude to many more to come.

Last night, Australia keenly watched an impressive 13m NASA rocket lift off from a commercial site in the Northern Territory. A historical lift off from Australia since the last rocket launch in 1995, and marked the first NASA launch from a commercial site outside of the United States.

The NASA rocket lifted off after a small delay due to weather conditions and the Nhulunbuy residents, including the surrounding areas could see a magnificent sight in the sky as the rocket flies into suborbital. The night sky flashed brightly from the launch and the sound reverberated throughout the area.

Important guests invited by ELA, including our CEO Harley Paroulakis, marvelled at the NASA rocket launch and joined the countdown from the exclusive viewing platform, approximately 800m away from the launch pad. Paspalis Innovation Investment Fund is proud to be associated with and invested in the company ELA since 2019.

The first of three NASA rockets was launched from ELA’s Arnhem Space Centre carrying the X-ray Quantum Calorimeter (XQC) instrument for its mission. The XQC instrument was provided by the University of Wisconsin to help find the source of mysterious X-rays captured blooming with activity in space. Its purpose is to observe the Galactic soft X-ray bulge and attempt to determine its nature and emission mechanisms.

XQC made its seventh trip to space aboard a NASA suborbital rocket. This time, XQC observed a patch of X-ray light with 50 times better energy resolution than ever before, key to revealing its source. The targeted patch of X-ray light is visible from the Southern Hemisphere – a prime location from Arnhem Space Centre.

The Northern Territory offers an advantageous location from the Northern Hemisphere as it resides just 12 degrees from the equator and thus the flight was likely to collect much more information. This allows launch vehicles to “leverage the earth’s rotation to gain extra velocity”, ELA says, meaning payload to fuel ratios will be far cheaper.

“Our proximity to the equator being 12 degrees south gives us an astrodynamic and physics advantage over a lot of launch sites around the world and is highly desirable for large and complex orbital solutions in space” – Michael Jones (CEO of ELA)

The Arnhem Space Centre is owned and operated by ELA, which hopes to drastically increase its capability to host 50 launches a year by 2024.

The second and third rockets are scheduled to launch on the 4th July and 12th July 2022. Read more about the upcoming scheduled rockets here.