UPDATE 5/8: The launch of the Black Brant XII sounding rocket carrying the KiNET-X payload has been postponed to no earlier than 8:03 p.m., Sunday, May 9. The launch has been postponed due to upper level winds not being within the required limits for a safe launch. The launch window for Sunday runs until 8:43 p.m.
A mission to explore energy transport in space using a NASA suborbital sounding rocket launching May 8, 2021, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia may provide a brief light show for residents of the eastern United States and Bermuda.
The mission is scheduled for no earlier than 8:02 p.m. EDT with a 40-minute launch window, Saturday, May 8. Backup launch days run through May 16. The launch may be visible, weather permitting, in much of the eastern United States from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River.
A four-stage Black Brant XII rocket will be used for the mission that includes the release of barium vapor that will form two green-violet clouds that may be visible for about 30 seconds. The barium vapor is not harmful to the environment or public health
The mission, called the KiNETic-scale energy and momentum transport eXperiment, or KiNet-X, is designed to study a very fundamental problem in space plasmas, namely, how are energy and momentum transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected?
The vapor will be released approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds to around 10 minutes after launch at about 217-249 miles altitude over the Atlantic Ocean and 540-560 miles downrange from Wallops and just north of Bermuda.
Immediately after release of the vapor, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and violet, but that phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionized component of the cloud has diffused away. After exposure to sunlight the vapor clouds quickly ionize and take on a violet color.
The ionized portion of the cloud becomes tied to the magnetic field lines and diffuses parallel to the field lines but not perpendicular to it. In the mid-Atlantic region latitudes, the field lines are inclined by about 45 degrees to the horizontal, so the violet clouds stretch out in a slanted orientation and look more like short trails than a cloud. Because the motion of the neutral portion of the clouds is not constrained by the magnetic field lines, they spread out more quickly and become too thin to see with the naked eye much sooner than the ionized component.
In general, the human eye does not see violet colors very well in darkness. The KiNET-X clouds will therefore be more difficult for the casual observer to see than some of the previous vapor missions launched from Wallops.
Live coverage of the mission will be available on the Wallops IBM video site (previously Ustream) beginning at 7:40 p.m. on launch day. Launch status updates can be found on the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites.
The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for launch viewing.
NASA Wallops rocket launch scrubbed again, reset for Wednesday night
Will the fourth time be the charm?
After having to scrub three previous launch attempts, the Black Brant XII Rocket is once again set to take off from the Wallops Flight Facility no earlier than 8:05 Tuesday night, with a launch window of 40 minutes.
The rocket may be visible from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River as it thunders overhead.
Black Brant XII, carrying the KiNET-X payload, is a four-stage sounding rocket that can reach altitudes over 200 miles above Earth's surface, according to NASA Wallops Flight Facility.
NASA Wallops Visitor Center will not be open for viewing, but you can watch the launch live, with coverage starting at about 7:40 p.m.
Quelle: delmarva now
Some Canadians may see display of colourful vapour clouds from NASA rocket launch Saturday
A four-stage Black Brant XII sounding rocket is seen in this photo. (NASA)
TORONTO -- Canadians living in the southeastern part of the country and parts of the Maritimes may be treated to a brief, but colourful light show on Saturday if the launch of NASA’s sounding rocket goes ahead as planned.
On Thursday, the space agency announced the launch of a four-stage Black Brant XII sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia had been postponed to Saturday, May 15 at 8:10 p.m. EDT at the earliest.
The launch has been scrubbed several times this week due to poor weather conditions and a launch support issue during preparations.
The mission, called the KiNETic-scale energy and momentum transport eXperiment, or KiNet-X, is intended to explore energy transport in space.
“Namely, how are energy and momentum transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected?” NASA said in a release.
To do this, the suborbital sounding rocket will release barium vapour approximately 10 minutes after the launch when it’s just north of Bermuda.
The barium vapour is not harmful to the environment or public health, NASA said.
“Immediately after release of the vapor, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and violet, but that phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionized component of the cloud has diffused away,” the space agency said.
After exposure to sunlight, NASA said the vapour clouds will quickly ionize and take on a violet colour. The ionized portion of the clouds will then become tied to the “magnetic field lines” and diffuse out into the sky.
“The violet clouds stretch out in a slanted orientation and look more like short trails than a cloud,” NASA explained. “Because the motion of the neutral portion of the clouds is not constrained by the magnetic field lines, they spread out more quickly and become too thin to see with the naked eye much sooner than the ionized component.”
NASA has also released a visibility map showing where the vapour clouds will be visible and for how long after the rocket is launched. In Canada, the clouds should be visible for 60 to 90 seconds or 90 to 120 seconds depending on the location.
Because of the later launch time, NASA warned the KiNET-X clouds may be difficult to see because the human eye does not see violet colours very well in darkness. However, interested spectators can still watch the launch live via the Wallops IBM video site in addition to looking up at the sky nine minutes after launch to see the clouds.
Green, Violet, Oh My: NASA Rocket Launch Lights Up Eastern Skies
Swaths of East Coasters who looked up at the night sky on Sunday were treated to a light show, courtesy of NASA's Black Brant XII rocket. And they've got the pictures to prove it.
The rocket launched at 8:44 p.m. ET from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. But it was the "vapor tracers" that it released into the atmosphere that most spectators glimpsed shooting across the sky.
On Twitter, those who captured the event shared photos of the wispy, phantom-like vapors trailing across the Atlantic Ocean in response to NASA's tweet announcing lift-off. Others saw clouds glowing bright green or violet— a short-lived effect that occurs when the barium vapor ionizes as it is exposed to sunlight (though the violet sightings are rare, the space agency says, because the human eye can't see the color very well in darkness.)
The purpose of the mission? To explore energy transfer in space. NASA uses the vapor tracers to track the movements of winds and ions in the upper atmosphere.
"The mission, called the KiNETic-scale energy and momentum transport eXperiment, or KiNet-X, is designed to study a very fundamental problem in space plasmas, namely, how are energy and momentum transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected?" read a NASA news release.
The aerial show could be visible along most of the Eastern U.S., stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River, and in Bermuda, said NASA.
The sounding rocket ejected the vapor about 10 minutes into the flight at an altitude of over 200 miles, giving the bright hues just a half-minute window of viewing time.
Several people watching under Bermuda's clear skies caught some of the sharpest photos of the neon green glares.