The Voice of the Outer Banks – LIFTOFF! at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility
LIFT-OFF! at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility
By Outer Banks Voice on May 16, 2021
NASA Wallops Flight Facility
LIFTOFF A Black Brant XII carrying the KiNET-X mission was launched at 8:36 p.m. ET. The mission releases steam tracers 9-10 minutes after launch at approximately 217-249 miles elevation over the Atlantic Ocean and 540-560 miles downstream of Wallops, just north of Bermuda.
After a week of waiting for good weather conditions, congratulations to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on a successful launch. Scroll down the comments section on their Facebook page to see photos and videos uploaded by people from across the east coast.
LAUNCH UPDATE The launch of Black Brant XII carrying the KiNET-X payload is a GO for tonight on May 16. Clouds are forecast for Wallops and Bermuda, but there is a chance Bermuda will clear up. The window will be open from 8:04 am to 8:54 pm The live broadcast of the mission will be available on the IBM Wallops video site from 7:50 pm
Tonight is the last attempt for this launch period. The moon will start to be too high above the horizon at sunset, so it will be too bright to be able to see vapor tracers in the sky. If we don’t launch, we’ll be evaluating another launch time for later in the year. The map shows how many seconds after launch launch areas will be able to see the sounding rocket in the sky.
A mission to explore the transport of energy into space using a NASA suborbital sounding rocket launched at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia could provide a brief light show for residents of the eastern United States and Bermuda.
The launch may be visible, weather permitting, across much of the eastern United States from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River.
A four-stage Black Brant XII rocket will be used for the mission which includes the release of barium vapor which will form two green-purple clouds which can be visible for approximately 30 seconds. Barium vapor is not harmful to the environment or to public health
The mission, called the KiNETic Scale Energy and Momentum Transport Experiment, or KiNet-X, is designed to study a very fundamental problem in space plasmas – how energy and momentum are transported. between different regions of space that are magnetically connected.
Steam will be released approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds to approximately 10 minutes after launch at approximately 217-249 miles elevation over the Atlantic Ocean and 540-560 miles downstream of Wallops and just north of Bermuda .
Immediately after releasing the vapor, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and purple, but this phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the un-ionized component of the cloud has dissipated. After exposure to the sun, clouds of vapor rapidly ionize and take on a purple color.
In general, the human eye cannot see purple colors very well in the dark. The KiNET-X clouds will therefore be more difficult for the casual observer to see than some of the previous steam missions launched from Wallops. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will not be open for launch viewing.