Watch NASA Rocket Launch Live After It Was Postponed Four Times

After four false starts, NASA is again preparing to launch its KiNet-X mission, which is expected to produce a brief light show for millions of people in Bermuda and eastern parts of the U.S.

The space agency's fifth launch attempt has been scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET on the evening of Tuesday, May 11, weather permitting.

However, since NASA's window is 40 minutes long, the Black Brant XII suborbital rocket that's set to take off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia could end up launching as late as 8:45 p.m.

NASA says the rocket will be between 217 and 249 miles above the Atlantic Ocean around 10 minutes after launch, 540-560 miles downrange from Wallops and just north of Bermuda.

At this point it will release barium vapor, which will form two faint but visible clouds that initially appear green and violet, for approximately 30 seconds.

As the vapor ionizes due to exposure to sunlight, it will turn violet and become increasingly difficult to make out against the backdrop of the darkening sky.

NASA has said it's possible that the light show will look like the lights of an aurora "on a very small scale," but added that "that is an unknown aspect of this experiment."

The space agency says that the lights could be visible to the naked eye in Bermuda, and areas of the U.S. spanning the Atlantic coast to the Mississippi River.

However, you can also tune in to the launch online, via a live stream on the Wallops IBM video website.

The objective of the mission is to gather data to help NASA understand how energy and momentum are transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected, something the agency describes as a "very fundamental problem."

The space agency has compared its KiNET-X mission to a miniature version of Io, which is the third-largest moon of Jupiter and most volcanically active object in our solar system.

"The interaction between Io's atmosphere and Jupiter's space environment leads to an Io-induced auroral spot in Jupiter's atmosphere," NASA says.

"We know the power generated by Io's interaction, and we know the auroral power from the spot, but how are energy and momentum transported along the connecting magnetic field line?" said Peter Delamere, the KiNET-X principal investigator, from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

NASA has stressed that the barium vapor that the Black Brant XII rocket will release is not harmful to the environment or public health, comparing it to the substances used in fireworks.

NASA's previous launch attempts, on May 7, 8, 9 and 10, all had to be postponed due to adverse weather conditions, specifically "upper level winds not being within the required limits for a safe launch."

A rocket at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility
A rocket launches at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on February 15, 2020 in Wattsville, Virginia. The space agency's KiNet-X mission will release a colorful cloud of barium vapor that should be visible to millions of people. Aubrey Gemignani/NASA/Getty Images