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NASA goes launch crazy with plans for five rockets in five minutes

by Laura Domela

March 06, 2012 at 1:16 PM

One thing we know is NASA knows how to launch a rocket. Now, the agency is upping its game by launching five rockets in five minutes to study the winds swirling in the atmosphere at the edge of space

The suborbital rockets are part of the Anomalous Transport Rocket Experiment (ATREX) and will reach the jet stream some 60 — 65 miles above the Earth. The launch of the five rockets is scheduled for next week, March 14 — weather conditions permitting — from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Why five rockets at a time? These small rockets will be looking at the high-altitude jet stream, and to do so they will release chemical tracers that form white clouds that will highlight wind patterns there which can exceed 300 miles per hour. Two of the rockets will also carry instruments to measure temperature and air pressure in addition to the tracers.

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