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10 historic images of rocket launches

By: Katherine Butler on May 19, 2012, 6:41 a.m.
auroral rocket in Norway

Photo: NASA/Fred Signeres

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Auroral rocket in Norway

On Dec. 12, 2010, NASA launched a four-stage Black Brant XII sounding rocket into the skies above Norway. A Black Brant XII is described by NASA as a four-stage, solid propellant sounding rocket that can lift as much as 1,000 pounds to a 500-kilometer altitude or 250 pounds to about 1,400 kilometers. As part of the Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling, the rocket was sent into space to deliver instruments designed to study the northern lights and the heat and energy around them. Specifically, as NASA shares, the purpose of RENU “was to measure the flow of particles and heat both into and out of Earth’s upper atmosphere near the North Pole during an auroral event.”