Terrier-Improved Malemute Rocket Launched

IAS Prelims 2023

The Terrier Malemute is a two-stage American sounding rocket typically used for smaller payloads (less than 180 kg [400 lb]).

Both the Terrier first stage and the Malemute second stage use solid fuel. The Terrier burns for approximately 5.2 seconds, and the Malemute burns for approximately 21.5 seconds.

The NASA Terrier-Improved Malemute sounding rocket was successfully launched from the US space agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

During the 8-minute flight, 10 canisters about the size of a soft drink can were ejected in space, 9 to 19 kilometres away from the 300-kg main payload.

The canisters deployed blue-green and red vapour that formed artificial clouds visible from New York to North Carolina.

During an ionosphere or aurora science mission, these clouds, or vapour tracers, allow scientists on the ground to visually track particle motions in space.

The development of the multi-canister ejection system will allow scientists to gather information over a much larger area than previously possible when deploying the tracers just from the main payload.

The first stage booster consists of a surplus Navy Terrier MK 12 Mod 1 rocket motor with four 340-square-inch (0.22 m2) fin panels arranged in a cruciform configuration.

The Terrier rocket booster has a diameter of 18 inches (460 mm). The second stage solid rocket is a Thiokol Malemute TU-758 rocket motor, specially designed for high altitude research rocket applications.