Sunday May 9 2021
Here we go again, for a third try. NASA will attempt to launch a rocket launch tonight at 8:03 PM from Wallops Island, VA. There is a 40 minute window, and to be honest there is reason to hope it gets pushed back again.
We need clear skies to see it, and from my spot in the Mid Atlantic we are shrouded with clouds. If the mission goes off this time, we will not see the sky show. NASA has cameras that also need a clear view in Wallops Island as well as on Bermuda, and the weather at the launch facility is also cloudy.
This mission was postponed Friday and Saturday due to weather. The wind speeds both at the surface and aloft will continue be a concern. Below I will address the weather, what we could expect to see, and where to follow online.
Satellite Loop: Sunday 4:30 PM to 6:30 PM
Clouds have continued to fill back in towards coastal Virginia (just south of the Maryland line).
Launch Forecast Cloud Cover
Here’s the deal… This rocket is designed to created an artificial aurora high in the atmosphere to test high altitude conditions. Basically for us it would be a display of bright lights more than 200 mile above the ground.
However with cloud cover, we would not be able to see it.
Weather At Wallops Island Flight Facility
This map shows the surface winds and should let you display the weather conditions.
The air flow has been brisk, and not optimal. I believe this may be as strong or stronger than yesterday.
Upper Level Wind Forecast —> slider
I’ve included the flight path towards Bermuda. This looks to be too fast again as well.
- 700MB = 10,000 FT
- 500MB = 18,000 FT
- 300MB = 30,000 FT
This is the launch visibility shorty after lift off.
It is a fast sounding rocket. If the sky is clear to your east/southeast, then you may see this within 1 minute across much of our region as seen in this map.
The main show will start 9 minutes later.
Vapor Tracers: What You May See
About 9 minutes after launch, the payload of vape tracers will be released,
217 to 249 miles above the ground of Bermuda.
This is made up of the dame material in fireworks.
Barium Vapor: This will form two green-violet clouds that may be visible for about 30 seconds.
Scientists use vapor tracers primarily to study atmospheric winds in upper atmosphere and ionosphere. When released after launch, the tracers make it possible to directly observe the winds.
How To Watch And Track Updates
Live coverage of the mission will be available on the Wallops IBM video site (previously Ustream) beginning at 7:40 p.m. on launch day. If you see a promotional video and no access to the live feed, then there is likely a delay.
This was the latest tweet as of 7 PM Sunday. Updates on the launch are at this account on Twitter.
We’re still counting down for tonight’s KiNET-X sounding rocket launch, but continue to evaluate ground and upper level wind conditions. As long as we don’t scrub before, we will have the live stream up at 7:40 p.m. EDT on IBM Video (we promise): https://t.co/smUMQQ7FlF
— NASA Wallops (@NASA_Wallops) May 9, 2021
If this does NOT occur tonight, they have more opportunities in the days ahead. We would want a clear sky for much of the Mid Atlantic (and East Coast) for more to be able to view this.
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Please share your thoughts, best weather pics/video, or just keep in touch via social media