...of five sounding rockets in a stream of launches that took place in less than seven minutes for the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) program. All five launches took place from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) in Virginia and were supported by Orbital’s Technical Services Division (TSD), which serves as the prime contractor on the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract II (NSROC II). Orbital TSD worked in conjunction with NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program Office and other WFF operations for launch and mission operations. Each of the five rockets were built and tested by Orbital TSD for this unique mission.
The first rocket was launched at 4:58 a.m. (EDT) on March 27, 2012. Each subsequent rocket was launched 80 seconds apart and released a chemical tracer that created milky white clouds at the edge of space. The ATREX program is part of a study to better understand the processes responsible for the high-altitude jet stream located 60 to 65 miles above the surface of the Earth. The five-rocket ATREX mission brings to 26 the total number of launches the Orbital TSD team has supported since the beginning of the NSROC II contract in October 2010. These missions have been carried out from geographically distant launch ranges, including Wallops Island, Virginia, White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, Poker Flat, Alaska, San Nicolas Island, California, and Andoya, Norway. Orbital Sciences company information link.