WALLOPS ISLAND, VA -- NASA finally launched five suborbital sounding rockets early in the morning today on a science mission that briefly created a milky white cloud visible along a large portion of the U.S. east coast.
The launch window for the mission was between 2 and 5 a.m., and NASA was able to launch all five rockets just before the window ended.
The Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) mission 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 sounding rocket launch team at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va., launched five rockets 80 seconds apart, each of which released a chemical tracer to create clouds allowing scientists and the public to “see” the winds in space.
A significant criteria for launch to proceed was clear skies not only at Wallops but also at sites in New Jersey and North Carolina. The temporary clouds may be visible for up to 20 minutes by residents from South Carolina to southern New Hampshire and Vermont.