Blastoff! NASA launches rocket on 11th attempt

NASA's 11th attempt to launch the Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore.

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (WVEC) -- You might have needed some coffee, and you probably had your fingers crossed. 

But at 4:25 Thursday morning, NASA was able to launch its Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket, following 10 earlier failed attempts over the past month

The agency has been trying to launch the rocket from Wallops Flight Facility since May 31, with no success. Reasons for canceling the launch have included high winds, thunderstorms, cloud cover, and boats in the hazard area.

Clear skies were required for scientists on the ground to view the highlight of the sounding rocket's mission: colorful clouds of vapor that were deployed about four minutes into the flight.

The goal is to test a new deployment method for the clouds, NASA said. The red and blue-green clouds are expected to be visible from New York to North Carolina and as far west as Charlottesville, Virginia.

Studying the clouds' interactions will help support studies of the ionosphere and aurora, officials say.

PHOTOS: Colorful vapor clouds from NASA sounding rocket

The Delmarva Daily Times contributed to this report.


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