Alaska’s rocket ranges
Rockets immediately bring Cape Canaveral, White Sands or Baikonur Cosmodrome into mind, but not Alaska. Even many Alaskans do not know that Alaska has two rocket ranges. One in Kodiak, and one at Poker Flat. The latter is even the only university owned rocket launching facility. At Poker Flat, launches are made typically in winter on clear nights that allow seeing the dancing aurora. The rockets are aiming at the aurora to perform measurements therein.
Engineers have to launch rockets at double digit temperatures
If you have ever watched a space shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral, you remember how busy engineers and personnel work to get the start going. Now imagine this scenario in the middle of Alaska, in the middle of the night in the middle of winter, at sub-zero temperatures. Everything you touch with bare hands, freezes to your hands. Thus, the engineers and personnel have to bundle up in down parkas and down pants. This scenario does not sound very practical.
Why is there a rocket launch range somewhere in the middle of nowhere?
To explore the aurora, this is the best place to launch the rocket. You see what you aim at, and the rocket stages will not harm anybody as the rockets go out north towards the Arctic Ocean covered by sea-ice.
Ok that explains Poker Flat. But, what about Kodiak? Kodiak is a commercial rocket launch facility. It is operated by the Alaska Aerospace Corporation for sub-orbital and orbital space launches. This site has also the advantage of vast ocean in the vicinity and permits desirable orbits because of its location far north.
Next Monday I will explain why scientists are interested in the aurora. Stay tuned and follow me on my blog or twitter.
Today I have a Coco Chanel inspired with a twist work outfit. I am wearing multiple pearl necklaces on a black sleek top with a skirt and kitten heels. However, to give the look a modern twist I picked a leather skirt. I stayed with European neutrals, tan, black, pearl white and metal colors for an office appropriate look.
Styling my outerwear
Since temperatures are in the lower 30s (around 0oC) now here in the Interior of Alaska, I wore my lodden motorcycle coat, camouflage pony-hair booties, green beret, and hunter green leather bag for the commute to work. The bag is large enough to carry all the typical stuff that a women has in her purse plus the metallic kitten heels into which I switched at the office.
Do you switch from your booties to pumps at the office in winter? Do you keep your pumps at the office or carry them back and forth every day? Let me know, send me an email. I love to hear from you.
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Photos: G. Kramm (2014)
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