NASA rocket launch sends colorful clouds above the Atlantic coast

Camille Francis
June 30, 2017

The artificial clouds were part of a NASA experiment created to test high-altitude winds and cloud movement.

For the last few weeks, Nasa has been trying to launch a rocket in space with the aim of creating artificial clouds in the sky but bad weather and poor visibility meant the United States space agency had to repeatedly postpone its mission.

Almost a month later, the rocket took off at 4:25 a.m. today from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, and deployed 10 canisters filled with colourful vapour over the course of its 8-minute flight, lighting up the sky in an 'early July 4th light display'.

About 4 to 6 minutes into takeoff, 10 canisters released barium, strontium and cupric oxide, which interacted with each other to form colorful vapor. Vapor clouds seen from Staten Island, NY, to Outer Banks, NC.

The rocket took off at 4:25 a.m. and gave the region's residents an early taste of the fireworks in store for July 4.

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NASA's artificial clouds lit up the skies, as seen in this photo from Stone Harbor, New Jersey.

The blue-green and red artificial clouds, deployed between four and six minutes after take-off, are used to track particle motions in space.

They were released 100 miles above the ground, posing no risk to observers.

The launch delays started on May 31, with the last attempt, on June 24, foiled by extensive cloud cover.

'The development of the multi-canister or ampule ejection system will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously allowed when deploying the vapour just from the main payload'.

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