NASA and the Navy just set an amazing world record
Another win for NASA.
The rocket launched on Sept. 16, 2015 as part of the Charged Aerosol Release Experiment II.
A sounding rocket is a rocket that can take a small scientific payload high into the upper atmosphere.
The CARE II experiment was designed to study "dusty plasmas," or charged particles that sometimes form naturally in the upper atmosphere. Dusty plasmas can also be created from exhaust clouds from rocket engines, which is what the CARE II experiment used 37 of its 44 rocket engines for. Three engines were used for the launch itself, and four were used to control the rocket once it was airborne, according to NASA.
Scientists created the dusty plasma by injecting dust particles in the ionosphere. The dust particles got charged up in the ionosphere and produced particles of plasma traveling much faster than the speed of sound. The researchers then used plasma detectors on the rocket and radar on the ground to study the dusty plasmas. The whole experiment only lasted about 10 minutes.
NASA or the Navy likely won't beat the 44-rocket-engine record soon. But "you never know what's down the pike," Chuck Brodell, who worked on the experiment, said.