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NASA Launching Parachute Test Platform from Wallops Oct. 3

The Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) payload in the Testing and Evaluation lab at NASA Wallops. Credits: NASA/Berit Bland

UPDATE: Oct. 2, 3:33 p.m. The launch of a NASA Wallops sounding rocket carrying the ASPIRE payload will occur no earlier than Oct. 4, to allow for the completion of software testing of an instrumentation recording unit.

NASA will test a parachute platform during the flight of a Terrier-Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket at 6:45 a.m. EDT, Oct. 3, from the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The launch window for the 58-foot tall rocket runs until 10:15 a.m. EDT. The backup launch days are Oct. 4 – 14.

The rocket will carry the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The mission will evaluate the performance of the ASPIRE payload, which is designed to test parachute systems in a low-density, supersonic environment.

The flight is being conducted through NASA’s Space Mission Directorate. 

The payload carrying the development project is expected to reach an altitude of 32 miles approximately 2 minutes into the flight.  The payload will splash-down in the Atlantic Ocean 40 miles from Wallops Island. The payload will be recovered and returned to Wallops for data retrieval and inspection.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will open at 6 a.m. on launch day for viewing the flight.  The rocket launch is expected to be visible in the local area.

Live coverage of the mission is scheduled to begin at 6:15 a.m. on the Wallops Ustream site. Launch updates also are available via the Wallops Facebook and Twitter sites.

Smartphone users can download the “What’s Up at Wallops” app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing.

NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program is conducted at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility. Orbital ATK provides mission planning, engineering services and field operations through the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract. NASA’s Heliophysics Division manages the sounding-rocket program for the agency.

Keith Koehler
NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility