[MAY 8 UPDATE] — On Saturday, NASA again postponed the launch of the KiNET-X sounding rocket from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia due to upper level winds not being within the required limits for a safe launch. The launch was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but was then pushed back to no earlier than Saturday, May 8 at 8:02 p.m. Now, the launch is set to no earlier than at 8:03 p.m. on Sunday, May 9.
BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a lot of interest in Wallops Island, Virginia for what was slated to be the launch a Black Brant XII sounding rocket on Friday night.
Unfortunately, Wallops Islands has rain and thunderstorms in the forecast Friday evening. So, NASA has postponed the launch to Saturday, May 8th at 8:02 p.m.
This would seem ideal as the weekend would allow more people to witness the streak across the southeastern sky. However, southern New England will be battling a good deal of cloud cover Saturday night. While there may be some clearing after spotty afternoon showers, it will be tough to view this event from Massachusetts.
And if you were thinking maybe there’s a chance this launch would be postponed to Mother’s Day, Saturday is shaping up to have ideal conditions for Wallops Island.
Despite our cloud cover, having the information to see this is still helpful if Mother Nature shakes things up! If the clouds disperse, residents from New York City to Manchester, New Hampshire will be able to see the rocket roughly a minute after takeoff.
Once the rocket reaches an altitude of 200+ miles, it will release a barium vapor about 9-10 minutes into the flight just north of Bermuda. Rest assured, this vapor isn’t harmful to us or the environment. The vapor release helps NASA study the diagnostic instrumentation on the rocket. It’s main mission is to give scientists insight into how energy and momentum is transported between magnetically connected regions in space – real deal science! We know a beautiful example of this phenomenon: Auroras.
Be sure to check in with the WBZ-TV Weather Team for continuous updates on this launch.