NASA setting up for upcoming sounding rocket launch at Wallops

Science

ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is getting ready for another rocket launch.

A Black Brant IX is set to launch on Jan. 4 and 5 carrying an experiment to study the origin of soft X-rays in our galaxy that impact the Earth’s atmosphere.

The NASA sounding rocket mission called the Diffuse X-rays from the Local galaxy, or DXL, hopes to shed light on the sources of soft X-rays that hurtle toward Earth from elsewhere in our galaxy.

DXL will launch on Black Brant IX sounding rocket between 10 p.m. January 4 and 2 a.m. January 5, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Backup launch days are January 5-17.

The launch of the two-stage rocket may be seen by residents in the mid-Atlantic region.

Live coverage will begin at 9:40 p.m. EST on launch day on the Wallops YouTube site. The NASA Wallops Visitor Center will not be open for this mission.

While not harmful to humans on Earth, soft X-rays can make changes in the Earth’s ionosphere which can disturb radio communications and the accuracy of GPS navigation systems.

They have lower energy as compared to hard X-rays, which are used in imaging for medical applications.

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