Blast off! Rocket launch in Virginia will be “highly visible” along East Coast Tuesday

    A rocket launch will dazzle sky-gazers throughout the region Tuesday night. 

    *** Photo gallery of the rocket launch ***

    The Minotaur I rocket is slated to blast off at 7:30 p.m. EST (with a launch window extending until 9:15) at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague Island, Virginia.

    The rocket will carry satellites into orbit in support of the Department of Defense Operationally Responsive Space Office’s ORS-3 mission, according to a release from Orbital Sciences Corporation, the manufacturer of the Minotaur series.

    “We are pleased that the ORS office has chosen the Minotaur I rocket to support this important mission that will not only launch the Air Force’s Space Test Program Satellite-3 and 28 CubeSats, but will also demonstrate new methods and technologies designed to reduce overall launch costs,” said Mr. Ron Grabe, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Launch Systems Group. “We look forward to a successful launch of the ORS-3 mission and the opportunity to continue supporting the Department of Defense’s important work in the area of ORS systems.”

    The exciting news for us is that we’ll be able to see the rocket’s flames and smoke trail as it heads toward space (remember September?). In our area, the rocket will become visible to the south/southeast less than a minute after launch.

    Keep in mind that weather and local lighting will impact your view, but the excellent news is that skies will be mostly clear for the launch. Consider finding a dark location.

    Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops

    Be sure to monitor Wallops Flight Facility on Facebook for up-to-the-minute launch information.

    Enjoy the show!

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