NASA launches rockets to study electrical currents in ionosphere

Two suborbital rockets were successfully launched 15 seconds apart Thursday morning from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility as part of a study of electrical currents in the ionosphere.

The launch of the Black Brant V at 10:31:25 a.m. EDT and the Terrier-Improved Orion at 10:31:40 were part of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency.

The project is designed to study a global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere. The first rocket carried a payload that collected data on the neutral and charged particles in the ionosphere. The second rocket released 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.

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