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Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Rocket Launch Today
The launch from NASA Wallops Flight Facility that was canceled from yesterday will take place today.
Four NASA suborbital sounding rockets carrying experiments to take measurements in the ionosphere will be launched between July 5 and 23 (including weekends) from NASA’s Launch Range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The project is studying neutral and charged particles in the ionosphere and how each affects the way the other moves resulting in currents in the region. The variations matter because all of our communications and GPS satellites send signals through the ionosphere. A disturbed ionosphere translates to disturbed signals, so scientists want to know just what causes the ionosphere to behave in specific ways.
During the launch period NASA will launch two pairs of rockets consisting of a Terrier-Improved Orion and a Black Brant V. The rockets in each pair will be launched 15 seconds apart. Only one pair of rockets will be launched on any day.
Based on the approved range schedule, the rocket pairs are set for launch between 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT. The experiments on the Terrier-Improved Orion rockets will release lithium in the ionosphere. The resulting clouds are not expected to be visible to the naked eye but will be seen by special cameras on the ground.
The rockets will be visible in the Wallops area.
The NASA Visitor Center will open at 8:30 a.m. on launch day for viewing the launch.