RockSat-X Successfully Launches From NASA Wallops

Long exposure of the RockSat-X launch. Image Credit: NASA/Jamie Adkins

August 14, 2017 – The RockSat-X student payload was successfully launched on a NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute suborbital sounding rocket at 5:30 a.m. EDT, Sunday, August 13, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The payload flew to an altitude of 94 miles during its suborbital flight. It descended by parachute and landed in the Atlantic Ocean where it was recovered. The experiments were returned to the student teams at Wallops.

More than 100 students from 15 universities and community colleges from across the Unites States participating in RockSat-X were on hand to witness the launch.

Students with the RockSat-X group pose in front of their rocket prior to launch operations. The RockSat-X mission successfully launched from NASA Wallops Aug. 13. Image Credit: NASA/Jamie Adkins

The experiments were flown through the RockSat-X program in conjunction with the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. RockSat-X is the most advance of NASA’s three-phase sounding rocket program for students. The RockOn launches are at the entry level then progress to the intermediate level RockSat-C missions, culminating with the advanced RockSat-X.

The three-tier program introduces secondary institution students to building experiments for space flight and requires them to expand their skills to develop and build more complex projects as they progress through the programs. RockSat-X experiments are flown approximately 20 miles higher in altitude than those in the RockOn and RockSat-C programs, providing more flight time in space.

The next launch from Wallops is a NASA Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket in mid-September carrying a technology development payload.