Aurora Borealis Rocket Launch Chatanika

Aurora Borealis Rocket Launch Alaska

Below: Aurora and luminous trail

Northern Lights Rocket Launch Fairbanks
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Season 2002/2003

more images by
Chuck Johnsson
March 25 2003
Photographer Ulrike Haug visited the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska early on March 27 and captured these images of further aurora experiments. This time scientists launched a total of four sounding rockets into the Aurora including two HEX project rockets at 03:07 am and 03:11. The rockets released long luminous trails into the ionosphere (images below).

Northern Lights Launch Poker Flat

Northern Lights Rocket Launch Alaska

Project HEX will help scientists measure how air heated by aurora rises, by the distortion it creates in a man-made chemical trail dispensed by two sounding rockets. There are two parts of the HEX mission, a horizontal and a vertical TMA release. The vertical TMA release between 80-180 km will allow measurement of horizontal wind shear in the active E-region. The horizontal and vertical releases together will allow scientists to develop better models of wind patterns in the E-region.

Horizontal E-region eXperiment Homepage

The Poker Flat Research Range, located 30 miles northeast of Fairbanks, is owned by the University of Alaska, and operated by the Geophysical Institute under contract to NASA.

All images © 2003 - 2023 Ulrike Haug

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