Minotaur Rocket and International Space Station in D.C.’s sunset and night sky

ORS-1 Launch Visibility Map (NASA)

UPDATE (10:56 p.m.): Launch now set for 11:09 p.m.

UPDATE (9:30 p.m.): The ORS-1 launch has been pushed back to 10:05 p.m. EDT.

After being delayed a day due to thunderstorms, NASA’s launch of a new military satellite, ORS-1, should go off without a hitch this evening. The U.S. Air Force’s Minotaur 1 rocket is scheduled for liftoff at 8:28 p.m. from the Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Less than two hours later, the International Space Station will take a pass through the night sky. Both should be viewable in the Washington metro region.

Assuming an on-time launch, clear skies around sunset this evening could offer a magnificent view of the rocket’s contrail to many residents along the Eastern Seaboard. According to NASA, the rocket launch will take a southeastern trajectory and should be visible to areas within approximately 300 miles of the launch facility.

For the D.C. area, sky observers should look toward the southeast for the best chance to catch a glimpse of Minotaur 1.

For the latest launch information, visit NASA’s webcast. You can also keep up-to-date on the launch news with Wallop’s Twitter account.

Double the fun - International Space Station Viewing: The Washington-Baltimore region should have an opportunity to see the International Space Station pass almost directly overhead at about 10:14 p.m. tonight. The station will rise around 10:10 p.m. along the northwest horizon and set around 10:20 p.m. to the southeast. Get the exact timing and coordinates of the fly-by using NASA’s Applet for your zipcode.


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