Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Virginia rocket launch may be visible in Chesapeake Bay region

Several space technologies will be put to the test with the launch of a suborbital rocket at 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Called Suborbital Technology Experiment Carrier-8 or SubTec-8, the launch is designed to test new technologies to improve the capability of conducting suborbital science missions. Some of these technologies also may be applied to orbital spacecraft. The launch may be visible in the Chesapeake Bay region.

SubTec-8 will fly on a Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket and is predicted to reach an altitude of 128 miles before descending by parachute and landing in the Atlantic Ocean. The first SubTec launch occurred in 2005.

SubTec-8 technologies include distributed payload communications that will allow multipoint measurements for scientists to study multiple regions in space simultaneously; a low cost star tracker for assisting in pointing the rocket when taking astronomical observations; and a high data rate encoder that will provide the ability to transmit data from the rocket to the ground four times faster than currently available.