NASA five-rocket mission to launch tonight, with live webcast

By Kyle Niemeyer

Last week, we reported on NASA’s ATREX mission, which will launch five rockets in about five minutes to study the high-altitude jet stream along the East Coast. These suborbital sounding rockets will release chemical tracers to track the high-speed winds nearly 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. In addition, a couple of the rockets will measure conditions such as temperature and pressure near the edge of space.

NASA since announced the launch for tonight between midnight and 1:30 am EDT (March 15).

The late-night launch time might seem strange, but according to NASA this window was chosen to give clear skies and a dark moon for the best viewing conditions. The tracer clouds should be visible for up to 20 minutes following the launches, and may be seen along the East Coast from northern parts of South Carolina through New Jersey, and possibly as far as New Hampshire and Vermont.

Those of us outside this visible range can watch the launch on a live webcast that starts tonight (March 14) at 10 pm (EDT). Mission status updates will also be posted on Twitter at @NASA_Wallops.