Author
Maribeth Keitz Web Communications Manager National Academy of Engineering

Colorful Fun with Rockets

PostedThursday, June 15, 2017 at 9:40 AM

How many of you are following NASA’s anticipated launch of a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from Wallops Island, Virginia? NASA will be sending up the rocket to test a new multi-canister ampoule ejection system. During the ascent, the rocket will release 10 soft-drink-size canisters of blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space. The colorful clouds may be visible along the mid-Atlantic coastline from New York to North Carolina.

Anticipation is building because the launch has been postponed several times due poor weather. People on the East Coast have been gathering to watch the launch, and online audiences have been growing with each postponement. The next launch attempt is scheduled for no earlier than June 20, with a launch window of 9:05 – 9:20 PM EDT. If you have kids interested in rockets this is a unique opportunity to watch a live test. If you aren’t on the East Coast try watching through the Wallops Ustream site or the Facebook live feed

There are lots of lessons out there on rockets, including this one from TeachEngineering suitable for 4th graders. Have you tried any rocket activities? What has worked? Login and let us know.

Vapor Tracer Visibility

This map shows the projected visibility of the vapor tracers during the May 31 mission. The vapor tracers may be visible from New York to North Carolina and westward to Charlottesville, Virginia. Credit: NASA
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