If you saw something light up the sky the size of a full moon, it was not a UFO. NASA launched a test rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. People living in the mid-Atlantic region could see it unload its test payload.
How To: Buy a Pokemon Go Plus
The launch tonight of a Black Brant IX suborbital rocket from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility occurred at 7:07 p.m. ET. The primary purpose of the rocket launch was to test the performance of the second-stage Black Brant motor. Preliminary indications are that the motor performed as planned. Preliminary data analysis of the technology experiments on the payload is in progress.
Suborbital rockets, also called sounding rockets, are valuable tools for NASA to test technologies for flight and providing the test drive that is needed.
“The flight also provides an opportunity to test new technologies being developed for space missions and science conducted using sounding rockets,” said Cathy Hesh, technology manager in the Sounding Rocket Program Office at Wallops.
The ejection technologies tested today included a deployment system for forming vapor clouds in space for wind and ionosphere studies and ejectable sub-payloads testing data transmissions between sub and main-payloads during suborbital rocket flights, primarily during auroral studies.
Hesh said, “These two technologies will allow researchers to make real-time onsite measurements over a much wider area and increase the amount of data obtained than is currently possible during a suborbital rocket flight.”
During the test of the deployment system for the vapor clouds, four sub-payloads with mixtures of barium and strontium will be ejected from the main payload and the vapor will be deployed while the payload is descending. The test also included the release of vapor from two systems on the main payload during the descent portion of the flight.
NASA has released several photos of the sounding rocket launch from the Wallops Flight Facility on Facebook.