Watch NASA Rocket Launch Today Live From Wallops Island

NASA is launching a rocket packed with student science experiments on Friday morning, and some U.S. east coast residents may be able to see it in person.

The Terrier-Improved Orion rocket is due to launch between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. EDT. It will see dozens of experiments, built by college students across the U.S., launch aboard the scientific research rocket as part of the educational RockOn! Program.

NASA said the sounding rocket will fly the experiments to an altitude of more than 70 miles. The experiments will then parachute down to land in the Atlantic Ocean where a boat will recover them.

The experiments will measure things like acceleration, pressure, temperature, and radiation.

The launch was postponed on Thursday due to rough seas, as choppy waters could have made it difficult for NASA staff to retrieve the experiments.

The space agency said the rocket launch should be visible from the eastern shore of Virginia and Maryland and southern Delaware.

For those who are not able to catch the launch in person, NASA is also hosting a live stream via its NASAWallops YouTube channel. The stream, below, is due to go live at 7:40 a.m. EDT.

Students who participate in RockOn! get instructions on how to put together a scientific payload for a rocket. Once the program is complete, they may choose to participate in the more complicated RockSat-C initiative.

Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium, said in a statement that students normally descend upon NASA's Wallops flight facility to learn about rocketry and space experiments, but that this year the program was conducted virtually due to COVID-19.

Koehler said: "Conducting the workshop virtually presented many challenges. However, everyone involved stepped up to the plate to make this a successful program."

RockOn! had 102 participants this year, who were sent materials to participate in the workshop and build their experiments.

Sounding rockets, like the Terrier-Improved Orion, are built specifically for scientific experiments. Because they aren't necessarily built to achieve orbit, sounding rockets are significantly smaller than the mammoth machines used to launch astronauts into space.

The size of sounding rockets varies. The single-stage Super Arcas rocket is around 7 feet (ft) tall, while the four-stage Black Brant XII is 65 ft tall.

Giovanni Rosanova, chief of the NASA Sounding Rockets Program Office at Wallops, said in a statement: "One of the great attributes of the NASA suborbital flight vehicles is the ability to support educational flight activities.

"Despite the challenges that dealing with COVID 19 presented, everyone came together to make this launch happen this year after having to postpone the project in 2020."

Terrier-Orion rocket
A Terrier-Improved Orion rocket takes off from Wallops in this NASA photo. Sounding rockets are smaller to the ones used to launch astronauts into orbit. NASA / Wallops