Antares launch viewable from much of east coast April 17

Antares Viewing Area for April 2013 launch. Credit Orbital Sciences

Antares Viewing Area for April 2013 launch. Credit Orbital Sciences

The East coast of the United States is in for a treat. The Goddard Space Flight Center Wallops Island facility has built a new launch complex from which they intend to launch the largest rockets ever from the Wallops Island. On April 17 an Antares rocket will be launched between 5 and 8 pm eastern time.  The backup launch days are April 18 – 21. You can also watch the launch live on NASA TV. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. on NASA TV on launch day.

NASA intends to use this new site for missions such as sending payloads to the space station. You may be surprised at how good of a view you actually do get. Make sure you are at a location that is does not have an obstructed view to the east. Those in locations like Ocean City Md. will have an incredible view of this event. Binoculars will help but you should be able to see the rocket with the naked eye.

The payload is designed to stand in for a Cygnus spacecraft. This is only a test launch to show the company can successfully put the spacecraft into orbit. Orbital will be able to deliver up to 20,000 kilograms of supplies to the space station with the Antares.

Later this summer there will be a launch from this facility which will place a satellite in orbit around the moon.

Orbital Sciences Antares Rocket

Orbital Sciences Antares Rocket

About the author

Recipient of many prestigious NASA Awards including the Exceptional Public Service Medal and the Robert H. Goddard award. Experience includes working for NASA, as a contractor, in satellite design, construction and operations. Expert in the satellite operations concepts and ground systems including command, control, and science data processing.