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After many failed attempts, NASA finally gets its light show

30 June 2017, 12:55 | Hattie Nash

VIDEO: Following several delays, NASA launches rocket from Wallops

FINALLY! NASA rocket launches from Wallops, creates colorful light show

'The Terrier-Improved Malemute launched this morning, June 29, at 4:25 a.m.

A NASA sounding rocket launched early this morning and lit up the skies over the U.S. East Coast with colorful clouds, ringing in an early July 4 celebration.

After a month of trying, NASA finally launched one of its small sounding rockets from the coast of Virginia, creating a delightful mix of colorful clouds in the upper atmosphere.

Studying the clouds' interactions will help support studies of the ionosphere and aurora, officials say. During the flight, which lasted just eight minutes, 10 canisters filled with chemicals called vapor tracers were released and formed the clouds. The blue-green and red artificial clouds were deployed shortly after takeoff and are used to track particle motions in space. 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.

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Ground cameras were stationed at Wallops and in Duck, North Carolina, to view the vapor tracers.

During the flight, ten canisters, about the size of a soda can, were deployed into the atmosphere around 6 to 12 miles (9.65 to 19 kilometers) away from the 670-pound (304 kg) primary payload. This particular flight includes a multi-canister ampoule ejection system which enabled the tracers to spread over a wider area than before. The payload landed in the Atlantic Ocean, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) out to sea from its launch point in Virginia.

Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations.



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