WALLOPS ISLAND, VA – A Black Brant XII suborbital rocket carrying the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment (CIBER)is scheduled for launch between 11 and 11:59 p.m. EDT, June 4, from NASA’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The backup launch days are June 5 through 10. The rocket may be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic region.
With CIBER, scientists will be studying when the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe and how brightly they burned their nuclear fuel.
Jamie Bock, CIBER principal investigator from the California Institute of Technology, said, “The objectives of the experiment are of fundamental importance for astrophysics: to probe the process of first galaxy formation. The measurement is extremely difficult technically.”
This will be the fourth flight for CIBER on a NASA sounding rocket. The previous launches were in 2009, 2010 and 2012 from the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. After each flight the experiment or payload was recovered for post-calibrations and re-flight.
For this flight CIBER will fly on a larger and more powerful rocket than before. This will loft CIBER to a higher altitude than those previously obtained, thus providing longer observation time for the instruments. The experiment, which will safely splash down in the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 miles off the Virginia coast, will not be recovered.
The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 9:30 p.m. on launch day for public viewing of the launch.
The mission will be available live on Ustream beginning at 10 p.m. on launch day at: http://www.ustream.com/channel/nasa-wallops
Mission status on launch day can be followed on Twitter and Facebook at:http://www.twitter.com/NASA_Wallops or http://www.facebook.com/NASAWFF
Mission status also is available on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.
More information on CIBER and the NASA Sounding Rocket Program is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/sounding rockets.