NASA, Australia, Rocket hern Territory rocket launch went ‘flawlessly’

This all happened overnight. Five four: three two one Music, yes, were certainly feeling that here this morning, despite a short delay, the rocket was launched successfully disappearing from view within seconds. That was expected, its the first of three nasa design rockets to take off from the northern territory all intended to not enter orbit, but remain in the southern hemisphere and joining us live now. Is the ceo of equatorial launch australia, michael jones, hes there for us at uh from the scene this morning? Michael, congratulations to you. How do you sum up the launch yeah thanks very much. You know um, as you said, despite the short delays which were holding for the wind the rocket when it launches it is at its most vulnerable very shortly after it leaves the launch rail and so for safety reasons we decide to hold for uh. For a few short periods – and we reset the countdown at three minutes – i think three or four times, but it was a real success. We got the data that we wanted for the scientific clients, the launch went well the rocket performed as desired, etc, and for us its a momentous occasion, and so were really happy and really relieved as well as it was pretty exciting. I think every rocket launch is pretty exciting. When you hear everybody was surprised at how bright it was how loud it was so and its a very, very fast rocket. As you said, it disappears into the atmosphere very very quickly.

So where is it now um? It only took um a little over sort of 20 to 30 minutes before the payload returns to earth. It does its job in space very quickly and then intentionally we slow it down and bring it back. So the nose cone, the second stage engine and the payload all come back together into our atmosphere. The payload is then slowed down so that it gets a nice gentle landing because we have to recover the data out of that and thats. The main part of the mission, so it comes back under parachute, so thats about 300 kilometers to the south of where i am now, and we have a recovery team via helicopter and the ground using the local uh aboriginal people to assist us. The traditional angel, traditional owner ranger groups, who are down south um, have been really instrumental in helping us recover the payloads and well continue to do that for the next three missions, so other than the delay did the rest of the mission or launch go perfectly. Did it did it all go as well as it could yeah? No absolutely we went flawlessly. The only issue was that each time we got it, we have a requirement in australia, its its slightly different to nasas requirement, but for us we have wind limits and and its mostly in the oscillation of the wind. So, each time that happened, we just called a halt. We reset the the countdown clock at three minutes and the reason for that is that in the last 90 seconds of the countdown there is a quite a number of checks.

Um and final sign offs to say were good to go for launch, and you know at one stage we got down to eight seconds before we had to reset so uh. You know it was a little bit of a yeah. You know waiting for it to go, but uh yeah. We finally got it and it went really well so uh very, very happy for that. Now the pictures are fantastic, uh, michael and uh, just just for our viewers, who may well just be coming across the story. Now whats the point of the launch: what what do you want to learn yeah? So there are three different missions were doing the first one that just went uh last night is using an x ray telescope that comes out of the uh, the body of the rocket, and it was looking at um, atmospheric and galactic sort of phenomena surrounding some of Our nearest stars and theyre looking at using an x ray telescope, so they were looking at alpha centauri and its subset stars of alpha and bravo, which are 430 million light years away. So theyre a long way away, and so they need this very specialized equipment which we cryogenically cooled with liquid helium um. It gets to a point of you know about minus 270 degrees and that that allows that it in the dark in the southern hemisphere, because some of these phenomena can only be seen from the southern hemisphere. So thats.

The point of why nasa was here to conduct those experiments on behalf of a number of universities out of the united states, so the university of wisconsin and the next ones are coming out of the university of colorado so thumbs up from uh from the nasa chiefs. Oh very much so so they were happy. Uh were happy its been a long collaboration with us, so this is uh. You know, theres been a lot of planning and a lot of logistics in the making. But you know weve achieved the mission and can say that weve done, you know the first commercial space launch out of australia, so wow tick that box and now we move on to the next one onto the just quickly whens, the next one uh fourth of july. I think its 8 27. dont quote me on that, but i think its 8 27 so a little bit earlier. Michael, congratulations well done to you and the team fantastic achievement. Well talk to you uh for the next one too.

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