On Wednesday, seven student science experiments will launch to space on a small Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket. The vehicle was originally scheduled to take off from NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility at 6AM ET on Tuesday, but weather pushed back the launch. The rocket has a flight window between 6AM ET and 10AM ET Wednesday, with NASA's live stream coverage beginning at 5AM ET. Thursday and Friday will serve as backup launch dates.
The launch is part of the RockSat-X program, which gives students an opportunity to design experiments for space flight. Graduate and undergraduate students from seven different colleges developed experiments for this launch — including a 3D printer designed to operate in space. The Virginia Tech students who made the printer hope to study how changing gravity affects 3D printing.
The rocket's flight will be a short one; the payload carrying the experiments will parachute back to Earth just 15 minutes after launch. The experiments will land in the Atlantic Ocean 63 miles off the Virginia coast, where they will be recovered and then studied by the student science teams. The flight will give the teams a better understanding of how their experiments fair in space — even if it was only for a few minutes.
Update August 11th 8:27AM ET: The article has been updated as the launch has been postponed.