April 2013 IIS Rocket Launch will be Visible from Northeast U.S.

Antares rocket

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket at the launch pad at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility. Photo Credit: NASA

New Launch Complex in Virginia will give Northeast U.S. a great view.

The first launch ever to the International Space Station from Wallops Island. Virginia is now scheduled for April 5th, 2013.  The mission is an Orbital Sciences corporation test flight to IIS. A Cygnus spacecraft will take off for a demonstration flight on an Orbital Antares launch vehicle under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services agreement with the company. Orbital plans a hot-fire test of the Antares first stage once on the pad. Cygnus will make an attempt to rendezvous and berth with the International Space Station. Once this demonstration flight is complete regular re-supply missions to IIS will be launched from the complex. Future missions also include launches to place satellites in orbit around the moon.

Until now the Wallops launch complex has only been able to support smaller sounding type rockets. A division of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Wallops has added the new launch facility 0A which gives them the capability to support medium size rockets.

The location of this new launch complex will allow residence of the north eastern United States a view of what could have only be seen in the past from the Cape in Florida or Vandenberg AFB in California. It is expected that the medium sized rocket launches will be seen as far away as Washington D.C. allowing millions the ability to see a rocket launch in person for the first time.