*Afternoon Launch Update*
80% chance of acceptable weather. The biggest concern all day has been the surface winds. According to those launching the rocket, anything above a sustained 25 mph wind will cancel liftoff. Winds in the area have been consistently between 19 and 23 mph. Personal opinion is that winds will stay within this range for the rest of the day. Barring anything else, expect a launch at 5pm.
New launch window will be tonight (Sunday) at 5pm. Follow Matt Engelbrecht WITN on Facebook or @EngelWx on Twitter for the latest. If winds stay down, we should have a good view. Cloud cover will not be a problem for us this evening.
What To Look For
Having never witnessed a launch from Wallops (Virginia) it is tough to really say. The rocket won’t be as bright as a space shuttle send off, but having the ability to throw 11,000 lbs of payload into orbit means the rocket won’t be just a glimmer either. It won’t streak overhead like a shooting star and it won’t be stationary. In fact, it’ll be moving at nearly 10,000 mph.
The information coming from Orbital Sciences has indicated that after launch, the rocket will be visible to locations as far north as Maine and as far south as Charleston, SC. Eastern Carolina is in a great spot as it will be launching to our northeast and then tracing towards the southeast. Locations north of Cape Hatters will enjoy the best view. My best guess it that it will come across the very low horizon and look similar to a low crossing of the International Space Station.
Where To Look
Best advice is to find an area that is clear of trees and buildings. Ideally, a small hill to elevate your view would be fantastic, but even just a break in the tree line looking northeast will suffice. The goal is to be able to see about 10° above the horizon. Next, grab your phone and keep up to date on the launch status. The launch window will be opened at 5pm and closed at 8pm. Since there isn’t a tradition “countdown” per say, I would suggest following me on Twitter (@Engelwx) for frequent updates or visit Nasa.gov. It would be a shame to be standing outside for 3 hours only to find out they scrubbed the launch again.
If all else fails, look west around 8pm and try to find Jupiter :)
The eventual spacecraft attached to this candle stick will lift 11,000 pounds of material to the International Space Station. To put that kind of payload into perspective, the Antares rocket could bring nearly 29,000 Granny Smith Apples (Hydrated) to the International Space Station. If dehydrated then they could fit an additional 5,000 more.
For the astronaut who couldn’t leave their sweet tooth on solid ground, about 230,000 packs of Astronaut Neapolitan Ice Cream could be delivered via this rocket. Interestingly, with that kind of payload we could forget about researching low gravity bone loss and turn our attention to low gravity weight loss research.