Antares rocket launch scheduled for 5 p.m., third time the charm?

1:45 p.m. Sunday update: NASA and Orbital Sciences will make a third effort to launch the Antares Rocket from the Wallops Island, Va. flight facility, starting at 5 p.m. today. Whereas upper level winds were too strong to attempt launch yesterday, they are substantially weaker today. There’s an 80 percent chance weather will permit lift-off NASA says. The launch window runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

 

In the Washington, D.C. area, the rocket should be viewable about 10 degrees above the southeast horizon moments after the launch. For more information on how to catch a glimpse, read below. And remember, the launch will be webcast on NASA TV.

From Saturday….

4:35 p.m. update: Continued concerns about upper level winds have caused NASA to put off today’s planned launch. They will try again tomorrow, April 21, at 5 p.m.

4:00 p.m. update: Due to some strong upper level winds, the launch time has been pushed back to 6:10 p.m.

Antares rocket (NASA)
Antares rocket (NASA)

From 2:48 p.m…

Take two.

After a scrubbed attempt Wednesday, NASA and Orbital Sciences Corporation will again attempt to launch the Antares rocket today from the Wallops Island, Va. flight facility. Lift-off is set for 5 p.m. 6:10 p.m. with a two-hour launch window until 7 p.m.

Clear skies should allow viewing of the 133-foot rocket throughout much of the Mid-Atlantic – including the Washington, D.C. area. Assuming technical issues don’t delay or abort the launch, look southeast and the rocket will be viewable about 10 degrees above the horizon in the Washington area at 5 p.m. 6:10 p.m.


Visualization of where the rocket will be viewable from the vantage point of the Lincoln Memorial (Orbital Sciences)

An executive with Orbital Sciences is touting the launch as the most spectacular to ever occur from Wallops.

““…it’s going to be the biggest and loudest and brightest thing that’s ever launched from Wallops! So it’ll be visible up and down the coast,” Orbital’s Frank Culbertson told CBS News.


Viewable range of rocket launch (NASA)

Wednesday’s launch was halted due to “a premature separation of a launch pad umbilical connection to the Antares upper stage used for data communications” Orbital’s website stated.

For more information on the purpose of this rocket mission, see our blog post from Wednesday as well as this article from the Associated Press: Wallops Island prepares for spotlight as Antares rocket is set to launch

Additional viewing information

* The launch will be broadcast on NASA TV.

* Real time launch updates will be available on the NASA Wallop Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Also follow the Orbital Sciences Twitter feed.

* Launch status is available by phone by calling 757-824-2050.

* For those living in or visiting the local area, there are two primary viewing locations for Wallops launches: (1) The Wallops Visitors Center located along Virginia Highway 175. Visitors are advised to arrive early as parking is limited. More info: http://sites.wff.nasa.gov/wvc/. (2) The beach on Assateague Island (Virginia-side). Capacity is based on a number of conditions, such as time of year and state of the beach. More info: http://www.fws.gov/northeast/chinco/. Finally, visitors to the area may also inquire with local tourism officials on alternate viewing locations as well as any local business events tied into Wallops launch operations.

* Information on upcoming missions and updates during launch countdowns are available in the Wallops area on radio station 760 AM.

Jason is currently the Washington Post’s weather editor. A native Washingtonian, Jason has been a weather enthusiast since age 10.
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