NASA rocket launch creates colorful clouds over East Coast


A Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket carrying the RockOn/RockSat-C payload was successfully launched at 5:30 a.m. EDT (09:30 GMT) on Thursday, June 22.

A NASA sounding rocket launched early this morning and lit up the skies over the U.S. East Coast with colorful clouds, ringing in an early July 4 celebration.

The rocket launched from the Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia and the clouds could be seen from North Carolina to NY.

The agency has been trying to launch the rocket from Wallops Flight Facility since May 31, with no success. During the flight, which lasted just eight minutes, 10 canisters filled with chemicals called vapor tracers were released and formed the clouds.

The aim of the launch was to visually track particle motions in space, particularly in the ionosphere (the layer of Earth's atmosphere that is ionised), with help from these colourful clouds known as vapour tracers.

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According to NASA, the facility received almost 2,000 reports of the cloud sightings from New York, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Ground cameras were stationed at Wallops and in Duck, North Carolina, to view the vapor tracers.

'The canisters will deploy between 4 and 5.5 minutes after launch blue-green and red vapour forming artificial clouds, ' according to NASA.

A total of ten soft drink-sized canisters were released in the air at an altitude of 96 to 124 miles. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.