Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FW: NASA ATREX Mission Pic

 from a friend of mine:



Here is the pic from this morning's NASA mission. It was called the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) -- five rockets launched at 80-second intervals from NASA's facility at Wallops Island, VA.  Each rocket contained a pyrophoric chemical tracer -- trimethyl aluminum (TMA) -- that was emptied into the troposphere (about 60-65 miles above Earth -- just below the boundary to space) in a series of suborbital flights over the Atlantic. The dye was used to allow observers on the ground in three locations photograph and measure upper-atmospheric air currents. 

The mission had several previous attempts -- all scrubbed either due to cloud cover, a fouled range, high winds, or technical glitches. Tonight, the range was red right up until the 5AM launch window closed. They were feeding azimuth and elevation data to the rocket launchers while the countdown was ongoing -- right up to the launch, forgoing the launch of test rockets first. The birds launched at just before 5AM. At times, the tracer dye almost looked like a slow moving firework or meteor. Then they looked like giant jellyfish. It was amazing.


This is what it looked like from the street in front of our house.






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