Space – It is rocket science – island Nasa station monitors US launch – The Royal Gazette
Created: Aug 14, 2021 07:55 AM
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, watches rocket launch monitoring operations at the Nasa tracking station on Cooper’s Island (Photograph supplied)
A Bermuda-based Nasa station helped track a rocket launch to deliver vital supplies to the crew of the International Space Station.
The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, which carried 8,200 pounds of equipment, passed over the island on Tuesday from its launch site at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia more than 1,200 kilometres away.
The Nasa control centre at Wallops announced “coming your way, Bermuda” just after the 7pm launch.
Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, and Karen Grissette, the US Consul General, watched the launch from the Nasa tracking station on Cooper’s Island in Castle Harbour.
Ms Grissette said: “It was so exciting to observe my first launch and to watch the Nasa team hard at work.
“I am so proud of the co-operation between Bermuda and the United States in support of space exploration and scientific discovery.
“The Nasa Tracking Station in Bermuda is critical to Nasa’s launch operations.”
The resupply mission, aerospace firm Northrop Grumman’s 16th mission for Nasa, will assist the International Space Station with dozens of research projects.
Ms Grissette and Mr Roban also had a chance to watch the operations in the Virginia control room through a live link-up.
They also spoke to Shannon Fitzpatrick, the chief of Wallops’ range and mission management office, about how mission operations were organised.
Karen Grissette and Walter Roban observe the operations at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia (Photograph supplied)
The Nasa Tracking Station on Cooper’s Island was first set up in the 1960s.
It plays an important role in helping Nasa monitor its launches.
Mr Roban said: “I was proud to witness this longstanding partnership in action.
“On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I look forward to continuing our involvement with Nasa in support of human space flight and space exploration.”
The International Space Station is a scientific research laboratory in low earth orbit.