We tend to think of NASA facilities as being in Cape Canaveral or Houston, but there's also a NASA launch site in Virginia. They're planning to launch a two-stage rocket on Monday morning.
On Virginia's coast, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility hopes to launch a rocket packed with scientific instruments some time between seven and ten in the morning on March 7th. The backup dates are March 8-12.
In a statement, Keith Koehler with NASA said the Orion-type sounding rocket will rise about 100 miles into "suborbital" space and test a Radiation Tolerant Computer System (RadPC) among other things. The RadPC should be able to replace its own computer circuits with backup parts as circuits are occasionally struck and damaged by cosmic rays.
Another device planned for use Monday is the Vibration Isolation Platform (VIP), a tethered platform with stabilizers usable just outside a spacecraft. The device eliminates whatever problems spacecraft-vibration might cause to sensitive instruments. VIP was used in the past on a 1995 space shuttle Columbia flight specializing in microgravity research.
A system called SOAREX-9 (Sub-Orbital Aerodynamic Re-entry Experiments-9) should do its various tasks and then land back on Earth via parachute.
NASA expects the actual rocket to splash into the Atlantic about 55 miles from Wallops about 20 minutes after launch.
NASA launches sounding rocket from Wallops Flight Facility
A suborbital sounding rocket successfully launched this morning from the Wallops Flight Facility.
The Terrier-Improved Orion rocket lifted off just after 7 a.m., carrying three new technologies to the microgravity environment of suborbital space, according to a NASA news release and the live broadcast.
The technologies on board are the Radiation Tolerant Computer System (RadPC) from Montana State University, the Vibration Isolation Platform (VIP) from Controlled Dynamics in California and Sub-Orbital Aerodynamic Re-entry Experiments-9 from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California, according to the release.
The rocket reached more than 99 miles altitude and splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean afterward. Crews recovered the payload.
The next launch from the facility is set for 6 a.m. June 23.
Quelle: The Virginian Pilot