NASA to launch rocket Saturday night from Wallops Island


The crescent Moon is seen above the Northrop Grumman Antares rocket at launch Pad-0A, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Va. Northrop Grumman’s 12th contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver about 8,200 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Launch is scheduled for 9:59 a.m. EDT Saturday, Nov. 2. (Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP)

UPDATE: NASA has postponed this sounding rocket launch due to upper level winds not being within the required limits for a safe launch. The rocket will now launch no earlier than 8:03 p.m. on Sunday.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY/WPRI) — NASA is set to launch a rocket from their Wallops Island location just before 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.

With a 40-minute launch window, the NASA Black Brant XII will take off on a mission to perform research about how energy and momentum are transported in space.

The launch was pushed back from Friday due to the weather.

The mission is known as the “KiNETic-scale energy and momentum transport eXperiment,” or KiNet-X for short.

This experiment will start with the release of a cloud of vapor into the atmosphere. The vapor is not harmful to the environment or public health, NASA assured.

The vapor will be released between 9-and-a-half and 10 minutes after launch, which equates to roughly 217 to 249 miles altitude over the Atlantic Ocean and 540 to 560 miles downrange from the launch site and just north of the island of Bermuda.

After the vapor is exposed to sunlight, the vapor clouds will ionize quickly and change color to a shade of violet. The clouds will be a mixture of green and violet, however, this phase will only last for about 30 seconds.

The human eye will not be able see these colors very well, especially in the dark, compared to previous vapor missions.

You may, however, be able to see the rocket launch itself. Depending on your location, here is a computer model forecast for the time of the launch on Friday evening:

NASA has dates set through May 16 in the event of a postponement.

You can watch the launch here online:
Wallops Video Site
Launch Information

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