NASA’s Little rocket that couldn’t
Overly confident in late May In a tone papers reported an upcoming rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. All the local town folk got excited as they were going to get to watch a light fade into the sky as it dumped rainbow gasses into the atmosphere, “Nighttime Rocket Launch To Create Colorful Clouds in Space” posted NASA on their official website.
“The vapor tracers may be visible from New York to North Carolina and westward to Charlottesville, Virginia.” said the media headlines.
On May 31, NASA would launch a “Terrier-Improved Malemute” sounding rocket, supposedly named by drawing words out of a hat and jamming them together, but now seems awful fitting as the ego-‘male’ side of the populate is ‘mute’ with disappointment. The rocket was intended to carry a multi-canister ampoule ejection system that would deploy “vapor” tracers formed through the interaction of barium, strontium and cupric-oxide; further and over a wider area then ever before.
“Here comes another visual treat from NASA for residents, but they will have to get up early to enjoy it,” proclaimed the local news paper noting that the launch would take place before 5 a.m.
Those who did set their alarms would end up being a few weeks early. They were also, though they didn’t know it at the time, about to hear the word “scrub” used the most times since Ernie serenaded his rubber ducky.
Here is what happened next:
May 30: NASA officials, with endearing optimism, decide to reschedule the May 31 launch in hopes of better weather.
June 1: It’s too windy to launch, NASA officials decide, fearing interference from people flying kites off the coast.
June 2: There are too many clouds for NASA to make more clouds.
June 3: “They say the third time is the charm,” the NASA Wallops Facebook page says hopefully early that morning. It might have indeed been the charm, except the only person on the East Coast who is unaware there was a launch going on wanders into the launch area in a boat. NASA officials will later wish they had aimed the rocket directly at the boat.
June 4: The Wallops Facebook page posting person, deeply bitter about being dragged out of bed every morning before 4 a.m., nonetheless tries to strike a cheerful note, wishing everyone a good morning. Everyone hates him.
The launch is scrubbed after an irritable NASA employee hurls coffee at another employee, ruining sensitive electronics, and the Facebook person explains to everyone that there were too many clouds.
NASA, facing a staff rebellion, schedules the next launch for June 11 — in the evening.
June 11: A few local fishermen head out to take advantage of the fantastic weather, and head to the launch area, where the fishing is excellent. The launch is canceled. The fishermen are forced to flee for their lives as local residents on powerboats pursue them with torches.
NASA books a submarine armed with torpedoes for the next launch.
June 12: “We know you’ve been patiently waiting,” NASA’s Facebook poster posts. This does not accurately reflect the mindset of local rocket fans.
The launch is canceled because of high mosquito density.
June 13: First thing in the morning, NASA schedules a Facebook post to go up at exactly 9:16 p.m. announcing that the launch has been canceled because of clouds. All staff take the day off.
June 15: The launch is delayed again, until June 17, because Wallops officials had forgotten there was a company softball game on the 16th.
June 16: Wallops decides to hold off until Father’s Day, June 18, to make it more special.
June 18: The launch is scrubbed, NASA announces, because of “high winds.”
June 19: In what many feel is a display of divine wrath toward NASA, severe thunderstorms force postponement of the launch.
June 20: Engineers discover the rocket fuel has a dead gnat in it, which could imperil the launch. The launch is scrubbed.
June 23: The launch is postponed because of weather concerns. The launch window is amended to run through June 26, 2035.
As of right now June 24; no new launch date has not been determined.