CM – Due to delays, the missile launch could be visible Tuesday night –


Much to the disappointment of many, the rocket launch, which should be visible from Bucks County, has been postponed from Monday evening to Tuesday evening.

The launch was promoted by NASA because « upper level winds are not within the required limits for a safe launch ». The launch was originally scheduled for last Friday but has been delayed several times due to the weather.

The multi-stage rocket will be launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and will be visible to residents of Bucks County when the sky is clear.

NASA officials said the rocket launch was scheduled for 8:05 p.m. at the earliest . Tuesday with a 40-minute window.

A four-stage Black Brant XII missile is used for the mission, which involves the release of barium vapor, which forms two green-purple clouds that can be visible for about 30 seconds. The barium vapor is neither harmful to the environment nor to health.

The mission, called the KiNETic-Scale Energy and Momentum Transport Experiment (KiNet-X), is to investigate a very fundamental problem in space plasmas, namely how energy and momentum between different regions of space, which are magnetically linked.

The steam will be transported approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds to approximately 10 minutes after launch at an altitude of approximately 217 to 249 miles above the Atlantic and 540 to 560 miles below Wallops and released north of Bermuda.

Immediately after the vapor is released, the spherical clouds are a mixture of green and purple, but this phase only lasts about 30 seconds when the non-ionized component of the cloud has diffused away. After exposure to the sun, the vapor clouds ionize quickly and take on a purple color.

The ionized part of the cloud is bound to the magnetic field lines and diffuses parallel to the field lines, but not perpendicular to them. In the latitudes of the mid-Atlantic, the field lines are inclined by about 45 degrees to the horizontal, so that the purple clouds expand at an angle and look more like short paths than a cloud. Since the movement of the neutral part of the clouds is not restricted by the magnetic field lines, they spread faster and become too thin to be seen by the naked eye much earlier than the ionized component.

In general, the human eye sees purple Colors not very good in the dark. The KiNET-X clouds are therefore more difficult to see for the casual observer than some of the previous steam missions launched from Wallops.

The launch becomes visible when you head towards the coast about 10 to 30 seconds after launch look.

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