Fireworks start early with dual rocket launch from Wallops Island
Wallops Island, Va. – A two-rocket salvo from Wallops Island launched this morning after several days of delays.
Two rockets launched 15-seconds apart in support of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, which is a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.
The project is designed to study a global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere. The ionosphere stretches from about 30 to 600 miles above Earth and plays a crucial role in our day-to-day lives.
Radio waves bounce off it as they travel from sender to receiver, and communications signals from satellites travel through it as well. A disruption in the ionosphere can disrupt these signals.
The first rocket was a single-stage Black Brant V, which collected data on the neutral and charged particles it travels through.
The second rocket was a two-stage Terrier-Improved Orion. It shot out a long trail of lithium gas to track how the upper atmospheric wind varies with altitude. These winds are believed to be the drivers of the dynamo currents.