NASA Fails For Sixth Time To Send Clouds Into Space, Makes Us All Feel Better

NASA has had to postpone a rocket launch for the sixth time, after cloud cover meant they couldn’t see what they were meant to be doing.  

The American space agency has been trying to launch a ‘Terrier-Improved Malemute’ sounding rocket since the 31 May, and the most recent attempt yesterday (12 June) had to be put on ice yet again because of the weather.

Previous attempts have failed because of high winds, more clouds, and rogue boats sailing through the hazard area.

The launch is an integral part of testing a new multi-canister ejection system that will allow astronomers to study the ionosphere and aurora.

The system will take off, and then release canisters of coloured vapour (the canisters are about the size of a soft drink can) between four and five and a half minutes into the journey, at altitudes of 96 and 124 miles above earth.

This release will leave blue-green and red vapour trails across the skies, which then allow scientists to track particle motions in space.

The development of the multi-canister ampoule ejection system allows information to be gathered over a much larger area than previously allowed when deploying the tracers just from the main payload.  

The total flight time for the mission is expected to be about eight minutes, then the rocket will land in the Atlantic Ocean about 90 miles from the launchpad.

It will not be recovered.

And it isn’t just scientists who can keep an eye on the skies, residents along the east coast of the USA, from New York to North Carolina will be able to see the coloured clouds – that is if the cloud cover doesn’t ruin your view.

The tracers pose no hazard to residents along the mid-Atlantic coast.

But if you are elsewhere in the world, you can watch a livestream on Facebook from the ground cameras stationed at Wallops and Duck, North Carolina, or via the ‘What’s Up At Wallops’ smartphone app.

The launch is now scheduled for today (13 June) at 21.04 EST.

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