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ATREX Mission: NASA's Five-Rocket Barrage to Study Winds at Edge of Space

Glowing Clouds from ATREX Mission: View from Seaside Park, N.J.

Jack Fusco

Skywatcher and photographer Jack Fusco snapped this photo of the glowing clouds created by NASA's five-rocket ATREX launch from Seaside Park, N.J. (north of the rockets' Virginia launch site) on March 27, 2012. [Full Story]

NASA's Terrier Improved Orion Rocket


The Terrier-Orion rocket system is a two-stage, spin-stabilized rocket system that utilizes a Terrier MK 12 Mod 1 or Mk70 for the first stage and an Improved Orion motor for the second stage. The Terrier motor is 18 inches in diameter and is configured with 2.5- or 4.8-square foot fin panels arranged in a cruciform configuration. The Orion motor is 14 inches in diameter and 110 inches long. The vehicle is typically configured with spin motors and the total weight of this configuration, excluding the payload, is approximately 2,900 pounds.

NASA's Terrier Oriole Rocket


The Terrier Oriole is a two-stage, unguided, fin-stabilized rocket system that utilizes a Terrier first stage booster and an Oriole rocket motor for the second stage propulsion. The Terrier motor has four equally spaced fins, and the Oriole motor has four fins on the aft end arranged in a cruciform configuration to provide stability.

NASA's Terrier Improved Malemute Rocket


The Terrier-Malemute launch vehicle is a high-performance two-stage vehicle used for payloads weighing less than 400 pounds. The first stage booster consists of a Terrier MK 12 Mod 1 rocket motor with four 340 square inch fin panels arranged in a cruciform configuration. The Terrier booster has an overall diameter of 18 inches. For a payload weight of 200 pounds, the longitudinal acceleration during the boost phase is 26 G's. The second stage propulsion unit is a Thiokol Malemute TU-758 rocket motor which is designed especially for high-altitude research rocket applications. The external diameter of the Malemute is 16 inches.

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