NASA launching sounding rocket to create artificial clouds tonight
Jun 13 2017
It won't be the most impressive launch ever seen.
That's not to say tonight's mission won't put on a show.
When the rocket does take off, the blue-green and red clouds should be visible from NY south to North Carolina, NASA said. The cartridges contain strontium, cupric oxide, and barium vapor and will help form red and blue-green colorful artificial clouds.
Scattered clouds are possible this evening in the Mid-Atlantic, especially in southern Virginia, but overall the D.C. region has a good shot at seeing the launch. I'm sure that won't stop the usual YouTube conspiracy videos talking about how NASA and the government are trying to control us. It's gray and brooding when it rains, it's blue and filled with fluffy white clouds on a nice day, and it can adopt a bunch of colors during sunrise and sunset. These chemicals will be sprayed by small canisters to create artificial colored clouds that scientists can track from the ground.
If all goes according to plan and the sounding rocket will be able to take off, this should start deploying the content of 10 soft-drink size canisters in space some 5 minutes following liftoff. Normally, the tracers were released directly from the rocket's main payload, but this rocket is carrying up a specialized contraption called the "multi-canister ampoule ejection system".
Earth's upper atmosphere extends over 620 miles into space and scientists would extend understanding of this region by studying particle motions. He also said that Orbital ATK had "on-ramped" the Antares onto the NASA Launch Services contract vehicle, making it eligible for future NASA missions other than CRS flights.
Approximately 4 minutes after the rocket launches, the canisters will be deployed.
This is not the first time that the mission has been delayed.
Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 8:30 p.m. on the Wallops Ustream site.