Rockets could be fired across the northeast sky about midnight tonight, one after another, streaming long white trails.
NASA will launch five rockets in five minutes from its Wallops Island facility in Virginia, as Clemson University physics professor Miguel
Larsen leads an experiment tracking high-altitude, high-speed jet stream winds over hundreds of miles.
The launches are scheduled to take place between midnight and 1 a.m., depending on "almost pristine" weather conditions. As of Tuesday, those conditions were expected.
The trails are expected to be seen as far south as Myrtle Beach, but seeing them from Charleston is "a good possibility. These things are going to light up the night," said Dwayne Brown, a NASA spokesman. The cloud stream should last 20 minutes. If the launch doesn't take place tonight, it could take place through early on April 4 when conditions are right.
The experiment will cost about $4 million. Each rocket will be fired at different altitudes and distances, with the rocket going the longest distance crashing about halfway to Bermuda. The data gathered should allow scientists to better model the electromagnetic regions of space that can damage satellites and affect radio communications, among other research.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at @bopete.
When to watch
Launch window: Through April 4Time: Midnight-1:30 a.m.To watch live: Go to postandcourier.com to follow links to NASA's live video and more information.
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