Heads Up: Black Brant XII Launch possible Sept 19

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Well-Known Member
Jan 17, 2009
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I saw this on nasaspaceflight.com...note it was scrubbed and is scheduled to fly Sept 19...

"A rocket experiment that may shed light on the highest clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere will be conducted Sept. 15 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Black Brant Sounding Rocket The Charged Aerosol Release Experiment (CARE) will be conducted by the Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program using a NASA four-stage Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket. Using ground based instruments and the STP/NRL STPSat-1 spacecraft, scientists will study an artificial noctilucent cloud formed by the exhaust particles of the rocket’s fourth stage at about 173 miles altitude.

The launch is scheduled between 7:30 and 7:57 p.m. EDT. The backup launch days are Sept. 16 through 20. The rocket flight and the resulting cloud may be seen throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The artificial noctilucent cloud also may be visible the following morning just before sunrise."


The launch was scrubbed due to weather and is rescheduled tonight

"Black Brant XII rocket launch on schedule between 7:32 and 7:49 p.m., Sat, Sep 19. Web cast begins at 6:30 p.m."


A pdf covering what the experiment will do is located here

I grabbed a shot of the BBXII launched 25 Jan 1995 from that document and posted here.

You East coasters may see the plume if the weather conditions are right!

youtube video of the launch
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We (NARHAMS) were able to see it from Mt Airy, Maryland during the annual night launch. It was quite interesting how you could clearly see the 1st stage booster then nothing. At some point later, you could see the fourth stage and the huge cloud that was produced by the exhaust of the 4th stage engine. It was my understanding that was the point of the launch.
I saw it from Long Island, NY last night a little before 8pm. I didn't know what it was until I saw this news report about it:


In the southern sky I observed an intense point of light about 45 deg. above the horizon. Below it was a cone-shaped area that appeared to be illuminated from above. I could not determine the altitude. The point of light vanished suddenly but the illuminated area below it slowly faded to darkness.