If you see a small object piercing the sky on Monday night, March 21, it could be a missile being launched from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Eastern Virginia.
NASA officials say the rocket may be visible from parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia shortly after take-off — scheduled for sometime between 7 and 10 p.m. Monday.
In the event the launch is delayed due to weather conditions or other factors, NASA has specific backup dates from March 22 through April 1.
NASA said the Terrier-Improved Malemute, a type of two-stage suborbital sounding rocket, will be part of a mission overseen by the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Sounding rockets carry scientific instruments into sub-orbital space for experiments.
“The purpose of the mission, called Borderline Layer 2 Disorder, or BOLT-2is to further understand boundary layer transition, turbulent heating, and drag on vehicles flying in hypersonic conditions,” NASA said. “Boundary layer transition to turbulence is the process in which smooth laminar flow becomes unstable after which turbulence dominates and dramatically increases the heating and dragging on high-speed vehicles.”
NASA says the best viewing locations will be in the Chesapeake Bay area, but the rocket may also be visible from other parts of the eastern United States.
Similar to other recent rocket launches, the NASA Wallops Visitor Center will not be open for rocket launches on Monday.
If you live too far from seeing the missile, you can watch the launch on a live video. Live coverage is scheduled to begin at 6:40 p.m. Monday Wallops YouTube Location. Launch updates will be available on Wallops Facebook And the Twitter pages.
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Len Melisurgo can be reached in [email protected].
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