Wallops Minotaur/ORS-3 Launched! East Coast Viewing Report

Minotaur

Orbital Sciences Minotaur I rocket supporting the U.S. Air Force ORS-3 mission

The launch of Orbital Sciences Minotaur I rocket supporting the U.S. Air Force ORS-3 mission was delayed until 8:15pm est. due to a tracking station issue. Launch was smooth after the delay and viewing from the east coast was just as predicted. I viewed the launch from Columbia Md (30 miles northwest of Washington D.C.) with some thin high level clouds. There was some concern due to a very bright moon and mostly clear sky but we had no problem watching the launch. About 30 seconds after liftoff (we were in a field with some trees) the rocket came into view and was easy to see. The bright orange/red of the rocket flame was easy to pick out. Also the fact that it was going straight up into the sky made it obvious it was not a plane!. Total viewing time was about three minutes and fifteen seconds. It would have been longer but the clouds obscured viewing. With binoculars you could easily see the shape of the rocket exhaust, it was very impressive. The rocket could be seen arching over as it faded into the distance. With a decent telephoto lens I am sure you could get some great pictures.

Read: Rocket Launch from Virginia View-able from East Coast 11/19

There will be more launches, day and night, as Wallops will be the site for resupply missions to the space station. If you missed this one be sure to catch the next one. If you managed to take a picture of video let us know and we might post it.

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.