One night – three launches at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility
Three Terrier-Oriole suborbital “sounding” rockets were successfully launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, located in Virginia on Tuesday Feb. 24, 2015. The flights had been scheduled to take place on Monday, Feb. 23, and were conducted on behalf of the Department of Defense (DoD). Those handling the flight had a four hour window in which to get the mission underway opening at 12:30 and closing at 4:30 a.m. EST (0530 and 0930 GMT).
The range had back up launch dates of Feb. 25 through to the 27. The flights were delayed 24 hours due to weather and were visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic region.
The DoD project managers requested that no real-time launch status updates be provided and the launches were not be streamed live on the Internet or on social media once the countdown starts. Moreover, the NASA Visitor Center located at Wallops will not be open for viewing of the launches.
The Terrier-Oriole is an unguided two-stage rocket which is primarily used at either NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center or out of Wallops and is used as a sounding rocket or to deliver science payloads. The first stage is the Terrier segment with the second stage being the Oriole component. The booster is capable of lofting payloads weighing between 800 to 1,500 pounds (360 to 680 kg) to an altitude of approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers).
Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology, Space.com, The Mars Society and Universe Today.