NASA launches rocket from Wallops Island

The large inflatable heat shield survived the launch (Courtesy of NASA)

Hank Silverberg,

WASHINGTON – A high-speed U.S. Navy Stiletto boat is attempting to retrieve an Inflatable Reentry Vehicle Experiment NASA launched at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

A rocket with the inflatable heat shield blasted off just after 7 a.m. Monday.

From launch to splashdown, the flight on the Black Brant XI sounding rocketlasted about 20 minutes, according to NASA.

The flight was conducted to test a tracking system and the inflatable heat shield.

The heat shield splashed down off the coast of North Carolina.

Wallops Island has been launching rockets since the 1940s, but business has been picking up there since NASA started hiring private companies for space missions.

Many more missions are planned from Wallops Island. Some of the large rockets may be visible from the Fredericksburg area and possibly as far north as Washington.

NASA TV has video of its launches.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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