NASA Sends USU-made Probes Into Northern Lights

Jan 29, 2015

The Oriole IV at launch.
Credit NASA

A rocket launched yesterday morning with help from Utah State University in partnership with NASA. The Oriole IV rocket blasted off just before 4 a.m. at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska as part of NASA's Auroral Spatial Structures probe mission.

The rocket's trajectory was aimed for the aurora borealis, better known as the northern lights, in an effort to understand more about solar events and how they affect satellites and other instruments.

The rocket was carrying a payload of six probes built by the space dynamics labratory at USU, and were released above the aurora in conjunction with the main probe. Initial data has shown the instruments are working as designed.

Learn more about the project here.