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University of Alaska Fairbanks

NASA Sounding Rocket Launches into Alaskan Aurora

A sounding rocket launched from Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, Nov. 8, 2023, carrying NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s DISSIPATION mission. The rocket launched into aurora and successfully captured data to understand how auroras heat the atmosphere and cause high-altitude winds. 

The teams continue to support a second sounding rocket launch for BEAM-PIE, a mission for Los Alamos National Laboratory that will use an electron beam to create radio waves, measuring how atmospheric conditions modulate them. The data is key to interpreting measurements from many other missions. 

NASA’s Sounding Rockets Program, funded by NASA’s Heliophysics Division, is managed at the agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, under NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Photo Credit: NASA/Lee Wingfield