Rocket trails visible Wednesday night

mr. sin

Registered User

On Wednesday night, NASA will launch five small, powerful sounding rockets within five minutes from the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's shoreline.

Though the launch pad is over 200 miles from the Triangle, the results of these launches are expected to be visible from South Carolina to Pittsburgh to New England according to NASA.

The rockets are headed 60 to 65 miles up to the point where winds reach 200 to 300 miles per hour in the thin air, forming an upper jet stream.

The Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) is a sounding rocket mission that will gather information needed to better understand what is going on in the upper levels of our atmosphere. The mission was inspired, at least in part, by observing the movement of the exhaust plume during shuttle launches.

This upper jet stream is located above where passenger planes fly but below the orbit of satellites. At this level in the atmosphere, a great deal of electrical turbulence occurs. Researchers are very interested the outcome of Wednesday's launch to help them understand that turbulence and how it impacts satellite and radio communications.


Darkness always says hello.

ATREX rockets will release trimethylaluminium, a chemical which will react with oxygen to produce a glow that will be tracked by cameras located in Virginia, Pennsylvania and on our coast in Duck, N.C. Imagery from the cameras will be triangulated to produce a detailed map of the movement of air. By-products of this reaction are naturally occurring chemicals in our atmosphere including aluminum oxide, carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Cue Alex Jones' hyperbolic ranting. Ignore the last part of that quote for further effect.

mr. sin

Registered User
Trying again in a couple hours, but winds still not cooperating. Eastern USA heading out to sea between 0200-0500 Tuesday morning EST.

Posted by RCC on 2012-03-27 at 04:00:15 EDT
Resetting clock to T-15 minutes and holding. We have a red range because of a boat in the avoidance area. Expect the range to remain red for about 40 minutes.