Tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 19, tens of millions of residents up and down the US East coast have another opportunity to watch a spectacular night launch from NASA’s Wallops Island facility in Virginia – weather permitting.
See a collection of detailed visibility and trajectory viewing maps, as well as streaming video of the launch, courtesy of rocket provider Orbital Sciences and NASA Wallops Flight Facility.
And to top that off, the four stage Minotaur 1 rocket is jam packed with a record setting payload of 29 satellites headed for Earth orbit.
And if that’s not enough to pique your interest, the Virginia seaside launch will also feature the first cubesat built by high school students.
And viewing is open to the public.
Blastoff of the Minotaur I rocket for the Department of Defense’s Operationally Responsive Space Office on the ORS-3 mission is on target for tonight, Nov. 19, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the eastern shore of Virginia.
The launch window for the 70 foot tall booster opens at 7:30 pm EST and extends until 9:15 pm EST.
The ORS-3 mission is a combined US Air Force and NASA endeavor that follows the flawless Nov. 18 launch of NASA’s MAVEN Mars orbiter from Florida by just 1 day.
However the pair of East coast launch pads are separated by some 800 miles.
According to NASA and Orbital Sciences, the launch may be visible along a wide swatch from northern Florida to southern Canada and well into the Midwest stretching to Indiana – if the clouds are minimal and atmospheric conditions are favorable from your particular viewing site.
The primary payload is the Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3), an Air Force technology-demonstration mission, according to NASA.
Also loaded aboard are thirteen small cubesats being provided through NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative, NASA said in a statement. Among the cubesats is NASA’s Small Satellite Program PhoneSat 2 second generation smartphone mission and the first ever cubesat assembled by high schooler’s.
Locally, the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore will be open for viewing the launch. Visitors to Assateague need to be on the island by 6 p.m. before the entrance gate closes.
Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on launch day. Watch below: