NASA is the first customer of the commercial space base operated by Equatorial Launch Australia (ELA). Seventy NASA employees traveled to the remote base for three launches, the first from Australia since 1995, when rockets were launched from the Army’s Woomera Range complex in the south of the continent.
Michael Jones, CEO of ELA, spoke of a “historic night” for his company. Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the project marked a “new era” for the Australian space sector.
From New Zealand to the Moon
The US space agency also planned a mission from New Zealand. The CAPSTONE mission consists of a small, microwave-sized satellite that is placed in orbit around the Moon. The device will be placed in an orbit so elliptical that a new small space station, Gateway, will follow within a few years. CAPSTONE will test navigation and communication in that orbit.
The Rocket Lab 1 launch complex is a commercial launch site on the North Island of New Zealand. Rocket Lab has been launching satellites into space from the complex since 2018.
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