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Marshall Islands Sounding Rocket Campaign Completed
A NASA sounding rocket launches from the Marshall Islands.
A NASA Terrier-Improved Orion leaves the launch pad on Roi Namur, Republic of the Marshall Islands on May 9 (eastern time). This was the final rocket of four launches from the Marshall Islands site. Photo: NASA/John Grant

The launch of a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion sounding rocket at 3:23 a.m. EDT, May 9, from Roi Namur, Republic of the Marshall Island, brought to an end a very successful campaign studying ionospheric activity and its impact on radio, communication and navigation signals.

The final launch was for the Metal Oxide Space Cloud Experiment (MOSC). The rocket flew to more than 117 miles altitude and safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

At approximately 113 miles altitude the payload released a Samarium vapor cloud, which was seen at several observation sites in the neighboring islands. This allowed researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory to study the cloud as it dispersed and its impact on radio transmissions.

In all, a total of 4 rockets were launched during the campaign. Two of the rockets were part of the MOSC experiment. The other two rockets were for the Equatorial Vortex Experiment or EVEX which looked at post-sunset solar storms.