SubTec-6 – NASA to Test Suborbital Rocket Technologies

The Launch (SubTec-6):

On Saturday, June 28th 2014 NASA plans to launch a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia.  The launch is expected between 4 and 5 a.m.  The backup launch days are June 29 through July 2.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

There are a number of ways to view or track the launch (besides USAinSpace).

Launch status also is available by phone on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.

Or Android users can download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing. The app is available for download at:

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

 The Mission:

The mission is to deploy a system for forming vapor clouds used to track the winds for studies of the ionosphere. This will be done using a CubeSat. CubeSats are low-cost satellites that come in a verity of configurations.  They have been deployed by small rockets, large rockets with other payloads and also sent to the ISS on cargo missions and deployed straight from the ISS.

This flight will test a sub-payload deployment method using small rocket motors like those used in model rockets to eject the sub-payloads from the main payload. Two sub-payloads contain mostly barium and small amounts of lithium and strontium.  They will burn these rapidly vaporizing them to form a cloud that will be used to help  measure the wind in the transition region between the Earth’s atmosphere and space. The vapor releases occur at approximately 220 seconds after vehicle lift-off between 68 and 86 miles above the Earth.

According to reports, the may be seen by residents in the mid-Atlantic region. So if you live anywhere even close, look up, you may see NASA clouds.


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