Nasa makes history by launching first rocket from Australia

An unassuming patch of red dirt in remote Australia has made history as the site of Nasa’s first rocket launch from a commercial spaceport outside the US, the BBC reports.

The sub-orbital rocket blasted off from the tiny site early on Monday local time.

It will enable astrophysics studies that can only be undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere, Nasa says.

The launch was also the first in Australia in more than 25 years.

The rocket is Nasa’s first of three to blast off from the newly constructed Arnhem Space Centre on the edge of the Northern Territory.

Scientists hope it will help them study the impact of a star’s light on the habitability of nearby planets.

Onlookers who travelled to the remote site glimpsed the rocket for only about 10 seconds before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere.

“It was in the blink of an eye, but to me, it was like it was in slow motion because the whole area just lit up,” Yirrkala School co-principal Merrkiyawuy Ganambarr-Stubbs told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It went up, and then the sound, it was just like a rumbling boom, like nothing I’ve ever heard. And I just shook with amazement.”

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