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On Monday, NASA plans to put on a nighttime show that could rival any Fourth of July fireworks celebration.
If all goes according to plan, the rocket will release gas-filled canisters to test a new ejection system, which will aid future studies of Earth's ionosphere and auroras, NASA explained.
Weather has caused delays for the launch, which was originally slated for June 1: “When conducting rocket science missions, delays are to be expected because of the often stringent requirements for the flight to occur," Wallops News Chief Keith Koehler told Space.com. “While delays due to weather or marine traffic is frustrating, the launch team will maintain its focus to conduct a safe launch.”
According to NASA, the canisters will deploy during the rocket’s ascent, which is scheduled for sometime between 9:06 p.m. and 9:21 p.m. ET, and will release blue-green and red vapor to form artificial clouds between four and five minutes after launch at an altitude between 96 to 124 miles high. The canisters, NASA explained, contain barium and strontium, which create the stunning and colorful clouds.