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JOULE II Launches With Success At Poker Flat

The Terrier Orion
by Staff Writers
Poker Flat AK (SPX) Jan 24, 2007
From Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks, four NASA rockets launched into an aurora display over northern Alaska, starting at 3:29 a.m. Alaska Standard Time. Scientists hope to learn more about electrical heating of the thin atmosphere from about 60 to 120 miles above Earth's surface with the launch of these rockets. The project is called JOULE II.

Staff at Poker Flat Research Range coordinated with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that airspace was secure before launching all rockets. Each rocket's flight lasted about 12 minutes, and all rockets performed as planned, flying to their desired locations in space, with precision greater than 95 percent.

Miguel Larsen, a professor at Clemson University, was the principal investigator for JOULE II, which consisted of two Terrier Orions, a Black Brant V, and a Black Brant IX. The rockets launched in two pairs--the pairs consisted of one rocket with instruments to read the detailed structure of the electrical currents within the aurora, while a second rocket released a visible tracer of trimethyl aluminum vapor to measure the winds and turbulence at that altitude range.

Using sensitive digital and film cameras, scientists watching from Poker Flat, Coldfoot, and Fort Yukon determined how winds in the upper atmosphere contorted the visible tracer. They will use the information to track the winds in the aurora region.

The two releases of trimethyl aluminum produced a milky white glow when exposed to oxygen in the upper atmosphere, and may have been visible over parts of Alaska.

The instrument packages within the rockets radioed down their information about aurora currents as they flew through them. The rocket payloads landed in locations between Fort Yukon and Arctic Village.

Related Links
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com



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Russia To Stop Spacecraft Launches From Far East In 2007
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Jan 23, 2007
Russia will stop launching spacecraft from the Svobodny space center in the country's Far East in 2007, the space forces commander said Monday. "The Svobodny Cosmodrome will be suspended completely in 2007 as it has no perspectives for further development. The only launch of a Start-1 rocket this year will be conducted in the interests of Israel," Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin said.







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