About Antares’ Launch Site

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at 6:22 p.m. EDT today, Oct. 28. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Antares, loaded with a Cygnus cargo spacecraft, will lift off from the spaceport’s (known as “MARS,” for short) Pad 0A, which completed construction in 2011. The satellite image below is a view from May 3, 2014.

This view of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility along Virginia's Eastern Shore comes from the Landsat 8 satellite. Credit: NASA's Earth Observatory; image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.
This view of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility along Virginia’s Eastern Shore comes from the Landsat 8 satellite. Credit: NASA’s Earth Observatory; image by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon, using data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.

NASA’s Earth Observatory provided the above satellite view, as well as a write-up of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia:

The first research rocket launched from Wallops Island was Tiamat on July 4, 1945.
The first research rocket launched from Wallops Island was Tiamat on July 4, 1945.

More than 70 year ago, wild ponies roamed the marshes and beaches of Wallops Island, a barrier island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Today, the island is the site of a thriving spaceport that launches several commercial and government rockets each year.

Wallops has a long history with rockets. On July 4, 1945, NASA’s predecessor (the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, or “NACA”) launched the first rocket from Wallops, making the island one of the oldest launch sites in the world.

Wallops Flight Facility is NASA’s premier location for conducting research using suborbital vehicles: aircraft, scientific balloons and sounding rockets. Its partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport expands the facility’s capabilities in supporting the launch of orbital vehicles.

Since its beginnings as a facility for conducting high-speed research on aerodynamic designs, Wallops has launched more than 16,000 rockets carrying aircraft models, space and Earth science experiments, technology development payloads and satellites.

The island’s name comes from John Wallop, a 17th-century surveyor and original land patent-holder.

› How to View Oct. 28′s Antares Launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› Related images on Flickr
› More about Wallops Flight Facility’s history
› NASA’s Orbital website

Antares Countdown Update; Weather 97% Favorable

The countdown is progressing smoothly today for the launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked. The weather for this evening’s launch is predicted to be 97 percent favorable.

Liftoff is scheduled for 6:22 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Antares rocket
Antares rocket on the afternoon of Oct. 28. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

Cygnus is loaded with about 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food, supplies and hardware for the space station and its crew.

A launch this evening will result in Cygnus catching up to the space station on Sunday, Nov. 2. Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 4:58 a.m. by NASA crew members Reid Wiseman and Barry “Butch” Wilmore. Cygnus will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node and will remain in place approximately one month. It is scheduled depart the space station on Dec. 3.

This is Orbital’s third mission to the International Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

› How to View Oct. 28′s Antares Launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

How to View Oct. 28’s Antares Launch

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket at 6:22 p.m. EDT today, Oct. 28. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday’s launch attempt was scrubbed because of a boat down range in the trajectory Antares would have flown had it lifted off.

Antares rocket
The Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft aboard, is seen on launch Pad-0A, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Public viewing of the launch will be available at the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops. Wallops visitors are reminded that alcohol and pets are not allowed on Visitor Center grounds. Because of wind speeds and direction at upper altitudes today, the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge / Assateague Island National Seashore will be closed at 4 p.m. to the public, therefore these sites will not be available for launch viewing. The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission has additional recommendations for local viewing sites.

The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States.

Orb-3 Launch Visibility Map
The Antares launch scheduled Oct. 28 may be visible to residents in the mid-Atlantic, weather permitting. Credit: NASA/Wallops Mission Planning Lab
trajectory over view of harbor
What the Antares launch may look like from Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
view of trajectory over tidal basin
Viewing the launch across the tidal basin from the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington, D.C. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
trajectory over the upper west side.
Viewing from River Road in North Bergen, New Jersey, looking south. Credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.

More viewing maps from Orbital Sciences Corp. are available here.

The Antares rocket will carry Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. CRS-3 (short for “Commercial Resupply Services”) will be the fourth Cygnus flight, including a demonstration flight in 2013, and the first night launch of an Antares rocket.

› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Antares Launch Postponed to Oct. 28

The next launch attempt for Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket carrying its Cygnus cargo spacecraft is scheduled for 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. There is a 10 minute launch window. Live coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:30 p.m. EDT.

Monday’s launch attempt was scrubbed because of a boat down range in the trajectory Antares would have flown had it lifted off.

At last report, the weather forecast for Oct. 28 was 95-percent favorable.

Arrival of the Cygnus spacecraft at the International Space Station would occur Nov. 2.

› Related images on Flickr
› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› NASA’s Orbital website

Countdown Hold

While an assessment of a sailboat in a mariner avoidance area is conducted, the countdown to Antares’ launch is being held at T-minus 12 minutes.

Launch is now targeted for 6:55:04 p.m. EDT.

› Related images on Flickr
› How to View the CRS-3 Launch
› More information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website

Antares Launch at T-Minus 20 Minutes

Antares rocket
Antares rocket prepared for launch. Credit: NASA

With about 20 minutes until Antares’ scheduled 6:45:04 p.m. EDT liftoff, the countdown is progressing smoothly. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked. The weather for this evening’s launch is currently 100-percent favorable.

Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live launch coverage is currently airing on NASA TV.

The launch of Orbital’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission is the third commercial resupply flight by a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station, and the first night launch of an Antares rocket. Cygnus will transport some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the orbiting laboratory. If CRS-3 launches as planned, it will arrive at the station Sunday, Nov. 2.

› How to view the CRS-3 launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Liftoff on Schedule for 6:45 p.m.; Weather 100% Favorable

With less than an hour until Antares’ scheduled 6:45 p.m. EDT liftoff, the countdown is progressing smoothly. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked. The weather for this evening’s launch is currently 100-percent favorable.

Antares rocket
Antares rocket prepares for launch the evening of Monday, Oct. 27, 2014. Credit: NASA

Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket and Cygnus cargo spacecraft will launch from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Live launch coverage is currently airing on NASA TV.

The launch of Orbital’s CRS-3 Commercial Resupply Services mission is the third commercial resupply flight by a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station, and the first night launch of an Antares rocket. Cygnus will transport some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the orbiting laboratory.

› How to view the CRS-3 launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Antares Launch: A Note About Visibility

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport are set to support the launch of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft at 6:45 p.m. EDT today, Oct. 27. Launch coverage on NASA TV will begin at 5:45 p.m.

Antares rocket
The Antares rocket at its launch pad on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 25. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Because this evening’s Antares launch occurs relatively shortly after sunset, NASA has received a number of questions on social media about whether Orbital’s rocket will catch up to sunlight once it gains enough altitude.

Antares is expected to be sunlit, and therefore brighter than it otherwise would be. The second stage burn will be in daylight, which should make for a very visible plume. Note that the second stage ignition for CRS-3 occurs considerably earlier than previous Antares flights, so the burn will occur much higher over the horizon. (More information about launch viewing opportunities.)

The Antares rocket will carry Orbital’s Cygnus cargo spacecraft, loaded with some 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments, to the International Space Station. CRS-3 (short for “Commercial Resupply Services”) will be the fourth Cygnus flight, including a demonstration flight in 2013, and the first night launch of an Antares rocket.

› How to view the CRS-3 launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr

Antares Countdown Progresses; Weather 99% Favorable

The countdown is progressing smoothly today for the launch of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, with the Cygnus cargo spacecraft on top. There are no technical concerns with the rocket or spacecraft being worked. The weather for this evening’s launch is predicted to be 99-percent favorable.

Liftoff is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. EDT from the Mid-Atlantic Spaceport’s Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

Antares rocket at launch pad
Antares at its launch pad on Oct. 27, 2014. Credit: NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility

Live coverage of the launch on NASA TV will begin at 5:45 p.m. here and on this blog.

Cygnus is loaded with about 5,000 pounds of science investigations, food, supplies and hardware for the space station and its crew.

A launch this evening will result in Cygnus catching up to the space station on Sunday, Nov. 2. Cygnus will be grappled at approximately 4:58 a.m. by NASA crew members Reid Wiseman and Barry “Butch” Wilmore. Cygnus will be attached to the Earth-facing port of the station’s Harmony node and will remain in place approximately one month. It is scheduled depart the space station on Dec. 3.

This is Orbital’s third mission to the International Space Station under its Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

› How to view the CRS-3 launch
› Share your launch photos with NASA on Flickr
› More launch information and TV coverage details
› NASA’s Orbital website
› Related images on Flickr