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Friday, March 27, 2009

Aurora Borealis Appears Over Poker Flat

Planetary Society members last week embarked upon an expedition to view the Aurora Borealis from Mount Aurora, Alaska near the Poker Flat Research Range. Noted astronomer Dennis L. Mammana lead the attempts to photograph the unusual natural phenomena. He was accompanied into the -15F cold by this Blogger, [video].

Some of the nearly 44-member expedition were giving consideration to possible human space tourist launches from Alaska into the Aurora Borealis in the next decade during a discussion at the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The space flight tour could include the Alaska Railroad Aurora Winter Train Ride.


Bevy said...

Very beautiful! Thanks!

Chuck Lauer said...

Is there a runway there already? The cost of a 3 km hard surface paving job at that remote location would be huge and would probably not make economic sense. If there is an old air base there it might.

JackKennedy said...

Chuck - Valid comment if one is thinking horizontal space plane.

Poker Flat could only support VTVL (vertical takeoff, vertical landing) suborbital passenger flights like those proposed by Blue Origin's NewShepard and Armadillo Aerospace. The challenge of sub-zero launch prep would be challenging to ensure flight safety.

Ladd Field at Fort Wainwright might be an option for space plane flights if US Army agreed. It is 8575 x 150 ft. with two asphalt/concrete runways.