Finally! NASA Launches Rocket, Forms Artificial Clouds Over Bay

No, it's not 4th of July fireworks. A NASA rocket successfully launched early Thursday morning, from the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's lower Eastern Shore.

The Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket released 10 canisters into the sky, each containing blue-green and red vapor. That vapor formed artificial clouds that were visible from New York to North Carolina.

Photo: NASA/ J. Adkins

Photo: NASA/ J. Adkins

The artificial clouds, known as vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particles moving in space.

The rocket flew to an altitude of about 118 miles. Below, watch video of the launch and the colorful clouds deployed.

Wallops received nearly 2,000 reports and photos of the cloud sightings from areas as far north as New York, south to North Carolina, and inland throughout Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and points in-between. 

The rocket launch was originally scheduled for late May, but was scrubbed and rescheduled ten times, mostly due to weather conditions.

To learn more about the Sounding Rocket Program at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, click here.

Megan Viviano