Despite Postponements, NASA Rockets Set For First Test Of Dynamo - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Despite Postponements, NASA Rockets Set For First Test Of Dynamo

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Daytime Dynamo mission Daytime Dynamo mission
NASA scientist Robert Pfaff NASA scientist Robert Pfaff

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. - The waiting game continues for two rockets to take flight from NASA Wallops after scientists scrub the Daytime Dynamo mission for the second consecutive day.

Robert Pfaff, the principal investigator and lead scientist on the operation, made the call to scrub the launch both Monday and Tuesday. Once the rockets do get lift off, Pfaff says scientists will begin studying the dynamo, a global electrical current, which not only affects the ionosphere, but also our everyday lives.

The data will determine what causes communication systems and navigation systems, such as cell phones and GPS to be disrupted.

Scientists inside the Range Control Center and aboard an airplane will read the data.

"We have a scientist on board with four cameras," said research pilot Mark Russell. "He's interested in measuring a lithium cannister release as apart of the payload. [Also], he's measuring wind shear as apart of the atmosphere."

"The ionosphere, we'd like to think of as quiescence and nice and calm," said Pfaff. "But in reality, it can get quite disturbed.

The disturbance in solar activity did not happen, which is why Pfaff chose to hold the mission for another day.

"If we had 100 rockets, we would launch for sure, but because we only have this one pair, we're waiting for a stronger current to launch," said Pfaff.

According to Pfaff, the dynamo was first discovered in the 19th century by experimenters in England, but this will be the first time a rocket will be launched to measure the currents. NASA will give it another try again on Friday, June 28th with a launch window of 9:30-11:30 AM.

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