On Wednesday, the 12th of May, a NASA launch in Virginia may present a little light show for the Eastern half of the United States, including Michigan. Initially, it was prepared to launch Saturday, but strong winds caused the launch to be delayed to Saturday-Tuesday. A mission to travel energy transport in space using a NASA suborbital sounding rocket launching from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia – providing this chance to the residents of the eastern U.S. and Bermuda.
The mission is scheduled for 8:06 p.m. E.T with a 40-minute launch window, Wednesday, the 12th of May. Backup launch dates run through the 16th of May. The launch may be evident, weather allowing, in much of the eastern U.S. from the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River. NASA is all set to launch the KiNET-X rocket to analyze how energy and momentum are carried between distinct regions of space. Takeoff happens on the coast of Virginia but may be visible across the northeast & as far west as Illinois.
According to NASA’s views and depending on cloud cover, the rocket will even be visible in Burlington and Plattsburgh between 60sec – 90sec after launch. Areas of southern Vermont are supposed to see the launch as soon as 30 seconds after immediate takeoff.
About 10min after the launch, the rocket releases a barium vapor. This vapor is not toxic to the environment nor public health, according to NASA statement.
The vapor clouds ionize and take on a violet color before diffusing, but they may be almost impossible to watch with the naked eye. “In general, the human eye doesn’t see violet colors pretty well in darkness,” wrote Keith Koehler, a member of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. “The KiNET-X clouds will be more challenging for the casual observer to see than some of the preceding vapor missions launched from Wallops.”