It's the rocket that just can't seem to get off the ground.
The research rocket launch from the NASA facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, on the Delmarva peninsula was scrubbed on every attempt for a launch last week, due to clouds, boats, and winds. They haven't fared better this week, with launch postponements Sunday and Tuesday due to clouds.
If the weather cooperates, the research rocket launch will be next tried after 9 p.m. Saturday. Specifically, the launch window is 9:07 p.m. to 9:22 p.m.
Prospects for less clouds are better later Saturday, but not guaranteed.
Eight launches scheduled for May 31 through June 21 were scrubbed due to uncooperative weather and boats in the launch hazard area. Six more were canceled in advance due to weather.
When the launch finally takes place, South Jersey will have a prime seat for viewing multicolored, glow-in-the-dark clouds, if the weather cooperates with clear skies for viewing.
Press of Atlantic City meteorologist Dan Skeldon will be streaming live during the event beginning at 8:45 p.m. on Facebook, if the launch attempt isn't canceled in advance due to poor weather conditions.
A launch after sunset is more convenient for people to view compared to the predawn 4:30 a.m. launch attempts earlier this month.
To view the launch, look to the south-southeast sky, which should be clear given the current forecast. The beach is a great spot or any dark area with a view of the southeast horizon.
According to NASA, 10 canisters about the size of a soda can will be deployed from the rocket 4 to 5½ minutes after launch. They will produce blue-green and red vapors that will form artificial clouds. These clouds, or vapor tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.
The vapor tracers may be visible as far north as New York and as far south as North Carolina, depending on the weather.
The vapor tracers are formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and black copper oxide, according to NASA. The tracers will be released at altitudes 96 to 124 miles high and pose no hazard to residents along the mid-Atlantic coast.
NASA expects the total flight time for the mission to be about eight minutes.
The payload will land in the ocean about 90 miles from Wallops Island. It will not be recovered, NASA said.