Monday, April 17, 2023

Rocket launch from Virginia will test new technologies

NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia plans to launch a sounding rocket for the Suborbital Technology Experiment Carrier (SubTEC-9) mission on April 24. The mission will test several new technologies under development by the Sounding Rockets Program Office.

The launch window for the mission is 7:15-8:15 p.m. EDT.

Since the first SubTEC launch in 2005, the SubTEC missions have provided an opportunity for the sounding rocket team to test and demonstrate new or improved technologies prior to their use on science missions.

The SubTEC-9 mission will be launched from Wallops on a two-stage Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket. The rocket will primarily test a new star tracker and a faster telemetry link.

A high-data-rate C-band telemetry link will transmit data from the rocket to the ground in real-time, monitoring the rocket's performance and tracking its progress. The technology will enable data speeds four times higher than currently provided.

SubTEC is also testing a new smaller star tracker which is a sensor used in attitude control systems to align and target objects in space. Some of the other experiments being tested include 3D-printed electronics circuits, ethernet-based components, a low-cost gyro, a new antenna, and a new high-density battery.

SubTEC-9 is expected to reach an altitude of about 108 miles (174 kilometers) before descending by parachute into the Atlantic Ocean to be recovered. The launch may be visible in the Chesapeake Bay region.

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