After several unsuccessful attempts, NASA has finally launched a sounding rocket that created artificial colourful clouds that were visible from New York to North Carolina.
The NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket was successfully launched on Thursday from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
During the eight-minute flight, 10 canisters about the size of a soft drink can were ejected in space, about nine to 19 km away from the main payload.
The canisters deployed blue-green and red vapour that formed artificial clouds.
During an ionosphere or aurora science mission, these clouds, or vapour tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.
The development of the multi-canister ampoule ejection system would allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously possible when deploying the tracers just from the main payload, NASA said.
The rocket, after being delayed multiple times over the last 30 days, flew to an altitude of about 190km.