Despite a line of potent storms that walloped quite a punch to the area surrounding NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia Coast last night, all systems are “go” for now for a launch set for tomorrow, November 2, where an Antares rocket will launch to bring the Cygnus cargo craft to the International Space Station. With a ten minute launch window that opens at 9:59am, the rocket launch should be visible across a large portion of the Mid Atlantic. The frontal system responsible for hundreds of thousands of people losing power Halloween night has cleared the coast, setting the stage for fair high pressure to return to the launch area and the broader area where the launch should be visible.
While not as stunning as a nighttime launch, the accelerating rocket should streak across the morning sky from New Jersey to North Carolina. Northrop Grumman is launching their Antares rocket for the 13th Cygnus cargo freighter on the 12th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. Known as Mission NG-12, the rocket will fly in the Antares 230 configuration, with two RD-181 first stage engines and a Castor 30XL second stage.
The last launch of the Antares rocket at NASA Wallops occurred last spring in April that mission, the NG-11, brought 7.600 pounds of science and supplies to the ISS. It lifted off from Pad 0A on April 17 at 4:46pm ET; the NG-12 mission will use the same launch pad.
For those looking for an up-close view of the launch, the NASA Wallops visitors center will open their gates at 6am, providing the public with the opportunity to view Antares lifting off only 4 miles away. NASA TV will also broadcast the launch live on their network and on-line.