Readers on the Mid-Atlantic coast may have been able to see something strange last night after a sounding rocket launched from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute (named for the first and second stages of the sounding rocket) released 10 canisters of “artificial cloud” vapor tracers after a 4:25 a.m. launch on Thursday in order to study how particles move in space. The tracers, made of barium, strontium, and cupric-oxide, are used to study the movement of particles in the ionosphere and the behavior of auroras. This particular flight includes a multi-canister ampoule ejection system which enabled the tracers to spread over a wider area than before.
Filed Under: Aerospace + defense