NASA’s rocket launch to paint the night sky with colorful vapor clouds

NASA’s rocket launch to paint the night sky with colorful vapor clouds

blogger-avatarby Mariella Moon | @mariella_moon | 12 Hours Ago

If you live in a mid-Atlantic state and see an aircraft leaving trails in the sky on October 7th, don’t panic: those aren’t chemtrails. NASA’s just testing a handful of new spacecraft technologies by launching a suborbital or “sounding” rocket from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia between 7 and 9PM. One of the technologies onboard is a deployment system for vapor clouds that will be used for wind and ionosphere research. The agency will be trying it out tomorrow by releasing a barium and strontium mixture, which will create blue-green and red trails in the sky, 130 miles above the ground.

The main tech that the launch will put to the test, however, is the Black Brant sounding rocket itself — mainly its motor in a two-stage configuration. In addition, the launch will test a new way to fabricate payload, as well as three new carbon nanotube composite materials.

According to the agency:

These technologies will bring significant value to a wide range of aerospace and defense products –including launch vehicles, spacecraft, aircraft and marine vehicles — from the estimated 40-60 percent mass savings, increased technical performance and reduced maintenance over traditional materials.

The encircled parts in the map above show areas where the launch and the vapor clouds will be visible, but if you live elsewhere, you can watch the live coverage on UStream. Note that if the weather isn’t ideal for a rocket launch tomorrow, NASA will postpone it (in fact, the original date was October 6th), as it has a launch window of October 6th to 12.

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