Before new technologies are used in spacecraft they need to be thoroughly tested. Although ground tests are often acceptable, some technologies need a “test drive” before being integrated into space vehicles.
Suborbital rockets, also called sounding rockets, are valuable tools in qualifying technologies for flight and providing the test drive that is needed.
NASA will flight test a modified Black Brant sounding rocket motor, launch vehicle and spacecraft systems and sub-payload ejection technologies during a suborbital mission between 7 and 9 p.m. EDT, Oct. 6, from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The launch and vapor cloud releases, as part of the sub-payload ejection tests, may be seen by residents in the mid-Atlantic region. The launch window runs October 6 through 12.
The flight’s primary objective is to characterize the reformulated Black Brant motor performance in a two-stage configuration.
“The flight also provides an opportunity to test new technologies being developed for space missions and science conducted using sounding rockets,” said Cathy Hesh, technology manager in the Sounding Rocket Program Office at Wallops.