Wallops Island, Va. – The second attempt to launch a Black Brant XII suborbital rocket carrying the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRiment (CIBER) happened at 11:05 at NASA’s launch range at the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The rocket was visible to residents across Hampton Roads.
With CIBER, scientists will be studying when the first stars and galaxies formed in the universe and how brightly they burned their nuclear fuel.
Jamie Bock, CIBER principal investigator from the California Institute of Technology, said, “The objectives of the experiment are of fundamental importance for astrophysics: to probe the process of first galaxy formation. The measurement is extremely difficult technically.”
This is the fourth flight for CIBER on a NASA sounding rocket. The previous launches were in 2009, 2010 and 2012 from the White Sands Missile Range, N.M. After each flight the experiment or payload was recovered for post-calibrations and re-flight.
For this flight CIBER is flying on a larger and more powerful rocket than before. This lofted CIBER to a higher altitude than those previously obtained, thus providing longer observation time for the instruments. The experiment, which will safely splash down in the Atlantic Ocean more than 400 miles off the Virginia coast, will not be recovered.
More information on CIBER and the NASA Sounding Rocket Program is available at: http://www.nasa.gov/soundingrockets