Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket with Cygnus spacecraft is on schedule for a 5-minute launch window opening May 21 at 4:39 a.m. EDT on the company’s CRS-9 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Launch will be from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
For viewers in the local area, the NASA Wallops Visitor Center will open at 12:30 a.m. May 21. The Visitor Center is located approximately 4 miles from the launch pad. Parking is available on a first come, first served basis. The Visitor Center launch viewing area consists of two bleachers and an open field. Please be mindful of Visitor Center restrictions on alcohol, firearms, pets, RVs and coolers, among other things.
Chincoteague Island viewing locations include Chincoteague Downtown Robert Reed Waterfront Park located on Main Street, south Main Street to Curtis Merritt Harbor, and the bike trail near the Museum of Chincoteague Island adjacent to the bridge to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. For more information about viewing locations on Chincoteague please contact the Chamber of Commerce at 757-336-6161.
NOTE: Arbuckle Road and Assateague Island National Seashore/Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge itself are closed to the public for this launch.
The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission, in collaboration with Wallops, recently published a webpage for visitors seeking to travel to the area for a launch, including additional viewing locations.
Depending on weather conditions, the launch may be visible throughout the Mid-Atlantic area. NASA Wallops’ Mission Status Center maintains a mobile-friendly interactive map to assist with timing and direction for sky-watchers.
NASA Wallops will begin broadcasting video on UStream at 10:30 p.m. EDT tonight (May 20), approximately coincident with the start of the countdown. NASA TV’s broadcast with live commentary will begin at 4 a.m. EDT May 21.