NASA rocket launch creates colorful clouds over East Coast


NASA rocket launch creates colorful clouds over East Coast

The artificial clouds were part of a NASA experiment created to test high-altitude winds and cloud movement.

A Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket finally launched from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility early Thursday after being scrubbed 10 times previously.

With the new launch time, live coverage now begins on the Wallops Ustream site at 4 a.m. and Facebook Live coverage begins at 4:15 a.m.

The space agency has not stood still while waiting for this mission to get underway.

"The vapour tracers are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide", Nasa said ahead of the launch. The agency is calling it "an early Independence Day fireworks display".

The mission deployed ten soda-can-sized canisters, each containing cloud-forming vapour, roughly 100 miles above the surface just before 5 a.m. (EDT). They were visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from North Carolina as far north as NY, and could be seen as far west as Charlottesville, Virginia, according to NASA.

"The tracers will be released at altitudes 96 to 124 miles high and pose no hazard to residents along the mid-Atlantic coast".

Research on luminescent clouds like these allow scientists on the ground to better track particle motions in space across vast areas.

When all was said and done, the mission was rescheduled numerous times, nearly all of which were due to weather conditions not being optimal.

A Terrier-Improved Malemute two-stage sounding rocket lifted off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia to release colorful clouds into the upper atmosphere June 29.



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