Eyes to the skies: Rocket launch to be visible in DC region

NASA Wallops Flight Facility is scheduled to launch a rocket tonight that will be visible to the DMV as it climbs into the sunset sky.

The facility hopes to launch the 13th Northrop Grumman resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) at 5:39 p.m. near sunset. The Cygnus cargo ship (spacecraft) is the S.S. Robert H. Lawrence, named for the first ever African American selected as an astronaut.

The launch and mission will be carried live by NASA.

Depending on where you are in the DMV, you might be able watch the rocket ascending into the sky with your own eyes. The visibility map for our area covers quite a bit of territory.

Visibility map for Saturday afternoon’s rocket launch. (Courtesy NASA)

Launch updates can be obtained via NASA Wallops Flight Facility Twitter and Facebook. There is also a nifty launch app, “NASA WFF MISSION STATUS CENTER,” you can check.

Weather prospects are promising for the launch and should allow most a chance to see the rocket in flight.

It is possible to see the launch from Wallops’ Visitor Center and surrounding areas but traffic is typically heavy during these occasions. I will be watching and photographing from Hampton Roads, Virginia, which means I should see the Antares rocket about 60 seconds after launch. I’ll post any pics or video that I get on my Twitter.

On Monday, I will be participating in NASA’s agency wide “State of NASA” at Langley Research Center (LaRC). The all day event will be a behind the scenes look at LaRC and what the Center is doing to support NASA’s Artemis program. I’ll be posting on my Twitter feed so follow along.

Follow my Twitter @SkyGuyinVA  and daily blog to keep up with the latest news in astronomy and space exploration. You can email me at skyguyinva@gmail.com.

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