Poker Flat Research Range launches final aurora research rocket: Launch season now closed

Release Date: 
Friday, March 2, 2007


A NASA sounding rocket launched at 11:39 p.m. on Feb. 27, 2007 from Poker Flat Research Range during a brilliant aurora display above northern Alaska.

Dubbed CHARM, short for Correlations of High-Frequencies and Auroral Roar Measurements, the experiment was led by Jim LaBelle, a professor of physics and astronomy at Dartmouth College. The Black Brant XII rocket was equipped with instruments to pick up radio frequencies that are produced by the aurora. Although the rocket did not achieve all of its objectives during flight, LaBelle and his colleagues did gather some useful information from the launch.

“We got good data off one of our antennas,” he said. “There might be something new in there about high-frequency waves (related to the aurora). There’s still a chance we’ll be able to get a scientific paper or two out of the data set.”

CHARM was the final rocket to launch in 2007 from Poker Flat Research Range. The launch season began in January and launched a total of 10 NASA rockets in four separate experiments to study various aspects of the aurora.

The Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks operates Poker Flat Research Range under contract to NASA. To date, more than 2,000 rocket s have launched from the site since it opened in 1969. The range is located 30 miles north of Fairbanks off the Steese Highway.

Kathe Rich, Poker Flat Research Range: (907) 455-2103
Poker Flat Research Range: (907) 474-2110
Amy Hartley, Geophysical Institute: (907) 474-5823
Ned Rozell, Geophysical Institute: (907) 474-7468