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Swift
2012-Mar-08, 10:08 PM
From R&D Magazine on-line (http://www.rdmag.com/News/2012/03/Environment-Atmospheric-Science-Spacecraft-Jet-stream-study-to-light-up-the-night-sky/?et_cid=2523030&et_rid=54734303&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.rdmag.com%2fNews%2f2012%2f 03%2fEnvironment-Atmospheric-Science-Spacecraft-Jet-stream-study-to-light-up-the-night-sky%2f)

High in the sky, 60 to 65 miles above Earth's surface, winds rush through a little understood region of Earth's atmosphere at speeds of 200 to 300 miles per hour. Lower than a typical satellite's orbit, higher than where most planes fly, this upper atmosphere jet stream makes a perfect target for a particular kind of scientific experiment: the sounding rocket. Some 35 to 40 feet long, sounding rockets shoot up into the sky for short journeys of eight to ten minutes, allowing scientists to probe difficult-to-reach layers of the atmosphere.

In March, NASA will launch five such rockets in approximately five minutes to study these high-altitude winds and their intimate connection to the complicated electrical current patterns that surround Earth. First noticed in the 1960s, the winds in this jet stream shouldn't be confused with the lower jet stream located around 30,000 feet, through which passenger jets fly and which is reported in weather forecasts. This rocket experiment is designed to gain a better understanding of the high-altitude winds and help scientists better model the electromagnetic regions of space that can damage man-made satellites and disrupt communications systems. The experiment will also help explain how the effects of atmospheric disturbances in one part of the globe can be transported to other parts of the globe in a mere day or two.


To accomplish this, the five sounding rockets will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia releasing a chemical tracer into the air. The chemical—a substance called trimethyl aluminum (TMA)—forms milky, white clouds that allow those on the ground to "see" the winds in space and track them with cameras. In addition, two of the rockets will have instrumented payloads to measure pressure and temperature in the atmosphere.

The rockets will be launched on a clear night within a period of minutes, so the trails can all be seen at the same time. The trimethyl aluminum will then be released in space out over the Atlantic Ocean at altitudes from 50 to 90 miles. The cloud tracers will last for up to 20 minutes and will be visible in the mid-Atlantic region, and along the east coast of the United States from parts of South Carolina to New Jersey.

"People have launched single rockets before," says Larsen. "But the key here is that we're extending the range of measurements to many hundreds of miles. The furthest rocket will make it half way to Bermuda."

NASA will light up the sky, and I suspect the worriers will light up BAUT with questions. ;)

John Mendenhall
2012-Mar-08, 10:28 PM
Ah, how can we get notice fast enough to see it, launches, releases, trails, the whole thing?



Thanks, John M.

Swift
2012-Mar-09, 02:29 AM
Here is the NASA website on it (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/missions/atrex.html)


Ah, how can we get notice fast enough to see it, launches, releases, trails, the whole thing?

Thanks, John M.
On the launch information webpage (link on primary page) it says "An updated launch schedule is expected March 12", so maybe we'll know more next week.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-09, 07:27 AM
So time to get the popcorn out and wait for the UFO/woo/CT inbox to explode.

publiusr
2012-Mar-09, 11:41 PM
The Chemtrail folks will be the worst.

Swift
2012-Mar-16, 02:26 PM
We almost missed it, but it was delayed
From csmonitor.com (http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/0315/Five-rocket-launch-to-edge-of-space-delayed-by-radio-glitch)

A radio system glitch on one of five small rockets aimed at the edge of space has forced NASA to cancel a barrage of overnight launches tonight that promised to dazzle East Coast skywatchers with glowing midnight clouds.

The malfunction was detected as scientists prepared for the late-night launch rocket launches, which were scheduled to blast off within about five minutes of one another at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. The initial launch was targeted for 12 a.m. EDT (0400 GMT) on Thursday (March 15).

"We scrubbed for tonight and our next attempt will be no earlier than Friday night, March 16," NASA spokesman Keith Koehler told SPACE.com from the Wallops launch site on the Atlantic coast.

NASA's website (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/missions/atrex.html)

March 15: Midnight – 1:30 a.m. EDT

SCRUBBED: Tonight's ATREX launch attempt has been cancelled due to internal radio frequency interference on one of the instrumented payloads. The next launch attempt will be no earlier than Friday/Saturday with the go/no-go decision to be made late Thursday afternoon.
They may have made the decision, but it is not posted on the website.

In a couple of places on the website, they refer to it as "Launch Madness". Cute.

publiusr
2012-Mar-16, 10:30 PM
I miss everything. I can't make it to the coast. Poor as dirt these days.

Extravoice
2012-Mar-18, 04:33 PM
I live a ways in from the coast, but may be within viewing range.

I just signed-up for the NASA-Wallops Twitter feed. I generally don't have much use for Twitter, but in this case, it should come in handy for schedule updates.

Here is the latest:


- NASA Wallops ‏ @NASA_Wallops Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
ATREX mission of 5 rockets postponed to no earlier than Monday night, 3/19. 3/18 -- poor weather. Next update --Sunday evening

Swift
2012-Mar-19, 01:08 PM
The latest from NASA

Next Launch Attempt
March 20

The ATREX mission has been rescheduled to no earlier than Monday night, March 20, because of the high probability of unacceptable weather on March 19. A decision on whether to proceed March 20 will be made Monday evening.

Ara Pacis
2012-Mar-19, 05:45 PM
I can't wait for the internet to freak out when people see "signs of the apocalypse" tonight... 9 months early. :)

NEOWatcher
2012-Mar-19, 07:39 PM
The latest from NASA
The ATREX mission has been rescheduled to no earlier than Monday night, March 20, because of the high probability of unacceptable weather on March 19. A decision on whether to proceed March 20 will be made Monday evening.
Did they actually word it that way?
Now I don't know if it's tonight, or tomorrow night. :rolleyes:
Do they mean early morning on Tue. 20?

Swift
2012-Mar-19, 07:42 PM
Did they actually word it that way?
Now I don't know if it's tonight, or tomorrow night. :rolleyes:
Do they mean early morning on Tue. 20?
I did a cut and paste. My interpretation is they will make a decision on Monday the 19th about a Tuesday the 20th launch.

Extravoice
2012-Mar-19, 08:15 PM
Here is the latest:




- NASA Wallops ‏ @NASA_Wallops

ATREX Update: Countdown begins tomorrow (March 20) at 7 p.m. EDT with the launch window from midnight- 5 a.m. on March 21.

I hope they provide updates so I know when to look. I can't be sitting on my roof all night :)

Daffy
2012-Mar-19, 08:24 PM
NASA will light up the sky, and I suspect the worriers will light up BAUT with questions. ;)

So now questions here are ridiculed even before they are asked? Awesome.

Swift
2012-Mar-19, 08:33 PM
So now questions here are ridiculed even before they are asked? Awesome.
Note the winky smilie... I was (attempting to be) funny. Tough room.

John Mendenhall
2012-Mar-19, 08:56 PM
Now, none of us would even consider going on a few 2012 hysteria websites and predicting signs in the sky tonight of the impending end of the world. Would we?

Excuse me for a while, I'm going to be busy for the next few hours.:rolleyes:

Ara Pacis
2012-Mar-19, 10:08 PM
Note the winky smilie... I was (attempting to be) funny. Tough room.Perhaps the winky worked against you, and made him think you were intentionally trying to be mocking.

Some people won't get the memo about the launch and so some people will see it and wonder what it is (and, of course, some will refuse to believe the explanation). Something out of the ordinary is a cause for concern among even normal, well-adjusted and intelligent people. I wouldn't be surprised if people seeing it at some point in its duration might mistake it for a meteor/asteroid or for a high altitude nuclear EMP attack or nuclear missile launch or ABM launch. Of course, there might be more imaginative conjectures such as Chem-Trails or Bermuda Triangle activity or alien activity or an Arch Angel getting ready to do something apocalyptic.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Mar-19, 10:45 PM
Something out of the ordinary is a cause for concern among even normal, well-adjusted and intelligent people.
As is seeing something that is actually really ordinary but they didn't know about.
Like the winter Moon lying down to look more like a boat than a moon.
Or seeing the rainbow in a spray of water right in front of them.
Or seeing the Moon or Venus or Jupiter during daytime.

Daffy
2012-Mar-20, 04:17 PM
Note the winky smilie... I was (attempting to be) funny. Tough room.

I am overly sensitive to that particular issue. My bad.

Extravoice
2012-Mar-22, 05:17 PM
Atrex has been postponed again, but the weather looks promising for launch(es) tonight between midnight and 3AM EDT.

Those out of visual range can watch via webcast here: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/webcast.
The ATREX mission will be web cast beginning 2 hours before the opening of the launch window.

John Mendenhall
2012-Mar-23, 03:00 AM
The folks doing this launch are very conservative. I hope they postpone again tonight (Mar 22/23), it's cloudy here.

Extravoice
2012-Mar-23, 12:19 PM
According to their Twitter feed, they postponed because the "weather and boats" were uncooperative. They don't plan to try again tonight Mar 23/24. Maybe Mar 24/25 if the weather is good (I think the forecast is poor, though)

I watched some of the webcast until about 10PM ET, and the winds were an issue. I suspect the "uncooperative boats" were pleasure-boaters in the exclusion area.

publiusr
2012-Mar-24, 06:57 PM
Now to call up UFO hotlines, claim to be a psychic, predict the UFOs at the time of launch, then sell your book on coast-to-coast AM

Extravoice
2012-Mar-27, 12:26 PM
All five rockets were successfully launched around 5 AM ET today. :)

Unfortunately, I missed it.
I was awake at 5:00, too, but didn't check my phone until after 6:00. :(

publiusr
2012-Mar-31, 07:08 PM
Any UFO reports from this in the news? There's bound to be.