Rocket launch set for this afternoon at Pasagshak

Launch window is noon to 4:00.

 

If all goes as planned, sometime between noon and 4 p.m. today the Pacific Spaceport Complex will launch a rocket from the Pasagshak launch site.

The rocket is in its test phase and is being launched by the same, unidentified firm whose rocket was destroyed after launch in July.

That’s according to Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Campbell.

The roads and areas around Narrow Cape will be closed around the launch window because of the launch.

When and whether the launch is a go today is dependent on the weather, but not the weather at ground level.

Craig Campbell.

 

“It’s mostly winds. It’s not necessarily fog and it’s not necessarily temperature. It’s usually winds at high altitudes. Because the winds can be very strong at high altitude.

 When you launch a rocket, it needs to stay inside a fixed corridor and if the winds are blowing such that it pushes it outside that corridor, you just can’t launch. So it’s really the high altitude winds that are the primary factor.”

 

Campbell says there are no set go-no-go parameters for a rocket launch. Each is determined on a rocket-by-rocket basis by the company that owns it. A meteorologist will tell the rocket company what the weather is at various heights and it’s up to the company to determine if that weather will push its rocket out of that particular rocket’s flight corridor.

People in Kodiak know how tricky and wind blows can be at ground level. But it’s a lot worse at high altitudes.

 

“Between the surface and 60,000 feet you can have the wind blowing in three different directions because at every level the wind can be very independent of what’s above it or below it.

 So you could have a very calm day on the surface and it could be blowing at 100 knots up at 40,000 feet.  Or you could have it blowing from the south on the surface and go up to 20,000 feet and it’s blowing from the north.

 There is not just one singular wind direction or velocity from the surface on up, it changes as you go up through the altitudes.”

 

As a reminder, the launch window for the flight is noon to 4 p.m. this afternoon. Back-up dates run from Saturday to Tuesday.

 

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