NASA successfully launches rocket releasing vapor tracers

Rocket will release vapor tracers high in the atmosphere

KiNet-X Visibility Map. (NASA)
KiNet-X Visibility Map. (NASA) (NASA)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It finally happened.

After a week of scrubbed launches due to weather, NASA finally was able to launch its KiNET-X sounding rocket from its Wallops Island facility in Virginia on Sunday.

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The launch occurred just in time, with the rocket going into the air at roughly 8:45 p.m., less than 10 minutes before its window to launch was set to expire.

What makes this launch so different from the ones Central Floridians are accustom to on the Space Coast is that this rocket will release vapor tracers high up in the atmosphere to study winds.

If it hadn’t gone off on Sunday, the launch would have had to have been delayed until later this year due to the difficulty of seeing the vapors because of the moon.

The materials that make up the vapor tracers are the same ones that make fireworks colorful. All of those materials are harmless to us.

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Look to the east low on the horizon 90 seconds to two minutes after the rocket launches from Wallops Island, Virginia. The tracers may be seen from Maine all the way to Central Florida and as far inland as the Mississippi River.


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About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.