UPDATE: The VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) sounding rocket launched successfully at 3:21 a.m. EST on Feb. 7, 2013 from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. Preliminary results show that it was a good flight and Douglas Rowland, the principal investigator for the mission at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. reported that he thought the data looked "fantastic."
VISIONS Sounding Rocket: Getting Ready For Launch
Click on each image in the slideshow to read more about the team's experiences in Alaska.
A sounding rocket is getting ready to launch in Alaska. The VISIONS (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) rocket will soar high through the arctic sky to study the auroral wind, which is a strong but intermittent stream of oxygen atoms from Earth’s atmosphere into outer space. The rocket will survive only fifteen minutes before splashing down in the Arctic Ocean.
The VISIONS team assembled in Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska at the end of Jan. 2013 for a launch window from Feb. 2, 2013 to Feb 17. The team is waiting for the perfect combination of clear skies, low winds and a strong aurora. The principal investigator for VISIONS, Doug Rowland, who is a scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, provides images and updates while the team prepares for launch.