The rockets, a Black Brant V and a Terrier-Improved Orion, will
launch 15-seconds apart in support of the Daytime Dynamo experiment,
which is a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace
Exploration Agency (JAXA).
project is designed to study a global electrical current called the
dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere. The ionosphere stretches
from about 30 to 600 miles above Earth and plays a crucial role in
our day-to-day lives. For example, radio waves bounce off it as they
travel from sender to receiver, and communications signals from
satellites travel through it as well. A disruption in the ionosphere
can disrupt these signals.
first rocket scheduled for launch is a single-stage Black Brant V,
which will collect data on the neutral and charged particles it
travels through. The second rocket is a two-stage Terrier-Improved
Orion. It will shoot out a long trail of lithium gas to track how the
upper atmospheric wind varies with altitude. These winds are believed
to be the drivers of the dynamo currents. Clear skies are required to
view these trails using ground-based cameras.