NASA To Launch Colorful Artificial Clouds Tonight Through Sounding Rocket

First Posted: Jun 12, 2017 05:51 AM EDT

NASA will launch a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket that will create colorful artificial clouds in the night sky on June 12 from 9:04 p.m. to 9:19 p.m. EDT. It was supposed to be on the night of June 11, 20017, yet it was rescheduled because of the windy conditions, haze and too many boats in the area.

The launch is part of NASA's studies of the ionosphere, in which the clouds are part of a sounding rocket launch from the Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague. The clouds could be perceived along the Mid-Atlantic from New York to North Carolina provided that the skies are clear. NASA has two ground stations namely the Wallops and Duck, North Carolina, according to Fauquier Times.

NASA stated that the canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch, releasing blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds. It further stated that these clouds or vapor tracers allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.

This project also aims to test the new multicanister ejection system that could help the scientists gather data over a wider area than has been possible. The flight time of the rocket will be about 8 minutes. Its main payload will hit the Atlantic about 90 miles (145 kilometers) off the Virginia coast and will not be recovered, according to NASA.

Those who are living near the Wallops Island area in Virginia could watch the sounding rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility Visitors Center that will open at 8 p.m. EDT. Those who want to watch it online, you could visit the NASA via the Wallops Center Facebook and Twitter sites. You can also watch it on live at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Do not miss it!

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