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Don Savage

Headquarters, Washington, DC October 20, 1995

(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Keith Koehler
Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, VA
(Phone: 804/824-1579)

RELEASE: 95-187


A series of NASA sounding rocket experiments will

begin today from the Australian Outback to study the Large
Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the closest galaxy next to our own
Milky Way.

Six sounding rocket experiments are scheduled for

launch from the Woomera Instrumented Range in South
Australia through November, carrying instruments to gather
information on hot gases, stars, interstellar gas and dust
particles, which are the basic building blocks of planets
in our neighboring galaxy. In addition, the 10-minute
rocket flights, from 150 to 200 miles altitude, will
provide invaluable information on new detection
technologies which are being incorporated into astronomy

The astronomical objects will be viewed by

telescopes in the ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths of
light. The experiments in this campaign are from Penn
State University, University of Wisconsin, University of
Colorado, and Johns Hopkins University.

The flights are being conducted in Australia since

the LMC can only be viewed from the Southern Hemisphere.
The launches will be conducted by personnel from the NASA
Goddard Space Flight Center's Wallops Flight Facility,
Wallops Island, VA.

All of the experiments will fly on the two-stage

Black Brant IX sounding rocket. Experiments will descend
by parachute and be recovered. One experiment will be
refurbished at the Woomera range for reflight about a week
after it is recovered.

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This will be NASA's first Australian sounding rocket

campaign since 1987/88 when the Agency conducted six rocket
experiments to study an exploding star, Supernova 1987a.

The NASA Sounding Rocket Program is managed by the

Wallops Flight Facility for the Office of Space Science,
NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. Approximately 30
sounding rocket missions are conducted annually from sites

- end -

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