WALLOPS ISLAND — Shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, the latest rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility arched its way across the Lower Shore sky, providing residents and visitors throughout the mid-Atlantic region with what has become a more common light show of sorts.
After the initial launched planned for Tuesday was scrubbed because of technical issues, a Black Brant XII suborbital rocket carrying a Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment (CIBER) was successfully launched from the Wallops Island Spaceport around 11:05 p.m. on Wednesday. With crystal clear night skies, the launch was visible throughout the resort area and across the mid-Atlantic region. According to NASA officials, the launch was reportedly seen from as far north as central New Jersey and southwestern Pennsylvania and as far south as northeastern North Carolina.
With CIBER, scientists are studying the origins of the universe when the first stars and galaxies formed and how brightly they burned their nuclear fuel. The Black Brant XII rocket launched at Wallops on Wednesday night was equipped with a payload designed to gather information about the origin of the universe. Jamie Bock, principal investigator from the California Institute of Technology, reported on Thursday good data was received from the payload.
The suborbital Black Brant XII rocket carrying the CIBER payload was launched to an altitude of about 358 miles above the Atlantic Ocean. After reaching its altitude and collecting its data, it fell harmlessly into the ocean as planned and will not be recovered.