Two suborbital rockets were successfully launched 15 seconds apart on the morning of July 4, 2013, from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility as part of a study of electrical currents in the ionosphere. The project is designed to study a global electrical current called the dynamo, which sweeps through the ionosphere.
The launch of the Black Brant V rocket at 10:31:25 a.m. and the Terrier-Improved Orion at 10:31:40 a.m. were part of the Daytime Dynamo experiment, a joint project between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA.
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.
> About the NASA sounding rocket program
Image Credit: NASA/J. Eggers