Many sky watchers along the mid-Atlantic coast of US would be able to watch five rockets fired up by NASA in a span of five minutes. NASA was supposed to launch these rockets on Wednesday, March 14, to study fast-moving winds at the edge of space. But was delayed due to some technical reasons in the form of radio system glitch on one of the rockets and anticipated bad weather thereafter delayed the launch until Sunday.
But after waiting for four days NASA has decided that it would go ahead with the launch on Sunday, March 18. If everything goes according to the plan it would lead to glowing clouds. The mission is slated to go ahead from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It is a part of Experiment underway by the agency named ATREX. Although the trajectory of all five rockets is different, the chemical that they would release would be simultaneous. Two out of the five rockets slated to launch would also carry instruments that can measure temperature and atmospheric pressure.
The rockets would be unmanned and would release glowing chemicals at about 60 miles above the surface of the Earth. This chemical would lead to luminous milky-white clouds that would be visible to people at the ground. It would also allow scientists to track high-altitude winds that can top 300 mph.
The total cost of the mission is pegged at $4 million. The mission aims to study the high-altitude jet stream, which is 60-65 miles above Earth's surface. The speed of this stream is much higher than that of its lower stream, which has mystified many scientists. The launch has been schedule to take place at night so that the glow is perfectly visible from the ground.