NASA 5 Rocket Launches in 5 Minutes (Late) Tonight

Last night was unseasonably warm (still above 70F after sunset), and as I looked into the clear night sky I could see planets visible amongst the stars. If I was to stay up well past midnight I might catch sight of five rockets in the night sky, fired one minute apart by NASA. Here are some details:

NASA is scheduled to launch five suborbital sounding rockets in just over five minutes March 15 from the Wallops Facility in Virginia as part of a study of the upper level jet stream.

Based on the approved range schedule, the launch window for March 15 is between midnight and 1:30 a.m. EDT. The backup launch days are March 16 through April 3.

The Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) will gather information needed to better understand the process responsible for the high-altitude jet stream located 60 to 65 miles above the surface of the Earth.

As part the mission, the five rockets will release a chemical tracer that will form milky, white clouds that allow scientists and the public to “see” the winds in space. These clouds may be visible for up to 20 minutes by residents from South Carolina to southern New Hampshire and Vermont.

The mission will be web cast beginning at 10 p.m. on March 14, 2012 at:

Mission status on March 14 can be followed on Twitter at:

More information on the ATREX mission is available on the Internet at:

Source: NASA

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1 reply

  1. Looks like the launch was scrubbed and set for the 16th due to some radio equipment problems:
    [quote]NASA has scrubbed the launch tonight of the five suborbital sounding
    rockets from the Wallops Facility as part of a study of the upper level
    jet stream.

    The launch was scrubbed because of an internal radio frequency
    interference issue with one of the rockets. The next launch attempt is
    no earlier than the night of Friday, March 16.[/quote]
    That aside, I always thought sounding rockets looked really cool and built a few model rockets based on sounding types as a youth.