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Cool-looking cloud alert!

MONDAY UPDATE:
Déjà vu from Virginia’s Eastern Shore this morning! Boats in the launch hazard area and poor science conditions led to another scrub of the Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket. Wallops tweeted, “We’ll be back at it tomorrow (July 1) with a window of 4-5 a.m. Our webcast will begin at 3 a.m.” THIS is their Ustream Channel.

SUNDAY UPDATE:
Boats too close to the launch site again caused NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to miss their launch window early Sunday morning. Their tweet update from @NASA_Wallops says, “The next attempt for launch will be tomorrow morning, Monday June 30, between 4 and 5 a.m. The webcast will begin at 3 a.m.”

SATURDAY UPDATE:
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility will attempt to launch their rocket Sunday morning, after scrubbing this morning’s attempt (because of poor science conditions, winds exceeding limits, and boats within the hazard area).

They tweeted: @NASA_Wallops: Our next launch attempt will be Sunday, June 29 with a window of 4-5 a.m. USTREAM coverage will begin tomorrow at 3 a.m. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA GODDARD) – NASA will test several new suborbital rocket technologies with the launch of a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket between 4 and 5 a.m., June 28, from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  The backup launch days are June 29 through July 2.

terrier-improved_malemute_horizontal_0
Image: NASA

These technologies will include a deployment system for forming vapor clouds used to track the winds in space for studies of the ionosphere; a miniature deployment actuator for small spacecraft called cubesats; a low-cost attitude solution system; and improvements in telemetry and flight recorders to increase the rates for data collected and transferred during flight.
The sub-payload deployment method being tested on this flight uses small rocket motors like those used in model rockets to eject the sub-payloads from the main payload. During the test, two sub-payloads with mixtures of mainly barium will be deployed from the sounding rocket. In addition to the barium, the two sub-payloads contain small amounts of the natural earth metals lithium and strontium.
By combining the metals and burning them rapidly, the mixture will produce enough heat and vaporize the mixture to form clouds that will help to measure the wind in the transition region between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. The vapor releases occur at approximately 220 seconds after vehicle lift-off between 68 and 86 miles above the Earth.
The byproducts from burning these metals do not pose a risk to health or the environment given their release in space. The amount of barium, strontium and lithium used in the test is much smaller than that used in a typical municipal 4 of July fireworks display, for example.  The colors in these displays are the result of rapidly burning small amounts of these earth metals.  For instance, barium generally produces a cloud with a mixture of blue-green while strontium and lithium produce blues and reds.
The clouds, which help researchers measure the velocity and direction of the wind in the space, may be seen by residents in the mid-Atlantic region.
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The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open at 3:30 a.m. for viewing the launch.
Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 3:30 a.m. on launch day at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops

 

Launch status can be followed on launch day on Twitter at: http://www.Twitter.com/NASA_Wallops

and Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/NASAWFF

Launch status also is available on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.

Android users can download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing. The app is available for download at: http://go.nasa.gov/17veCYT

Additional information on using vapor tracers in space research is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sounding-rockets/tracers/index.html

Keith Koehler
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia
keith.a.koehler@nasa.gov

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