If you are in the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area or the U.S. East Coast, you may be able to see
tonight’s launch at 7:40 p.m. EDT of Orbital ATK’s sixth resupply mission, CRS-5, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to the International Space Station (ISS) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/orbital.html is a GO according to Keith Koehler, Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia
Wallops is Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore so CRS-5’s launch and ascent to orbit will be visible to viewers in the DMV and along the U.S. East Coast. Using these maps http://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA5-Viewing-Maps/default.aspx you can find your location and determine the best time to look for segments of the flight.
This is a return to flight for Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket which suffered an explosion during the CRS-3 launch from Wallops to ISS on October 28, 2014 http://wtop.com/virginia/2015/11/new-nasa-photos-show-massive-rocket-explosion-in-virginia/slide/1/ . The rocket exploded just after liftoff and was completely destroyed along with the Cygnus spacecraft http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/orbital-atk-s-cygnus-preparations carrying supplies and items destined to ISS. There was also damage to the launch facilities which have been repaired.
Orbital ATK and NASA determined that the launch failure was due to an issue with one of the AJ-26 engines’ turbo pump - there are two engines http://wtop.com/science/2015/10/fire-in-engine-doomed-orbital-rocket-on-space-station-flight/ . The decision was made by Orbital ATK to switch to RD-181 engines for the Antares rocket which required design and manufacturing changes. The Antares rocket had to undergo certification tests and successfully conducted a static engine firing in May 2016 http://wtop.com/virginia/2016/06/antares-rocket-test-successful-at-wallops-island/ .
Last week the launch window had to be moved to Sunday because of Hurricane Nicole’s proximity to a ground tracking station in Bermuda and then to Monday due to a faulty ground support equipment cable.
NASA TV coverage of the launch of the Orbital/ATK OA-5 Antares/Cygnus Mission to the ISS Starts at 6:45 p.m. EDT http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
For the next few days you can see ISS in our skies. To get the sighting details for your location go to this NASA website https://spotthestation.nasa.gov .While there sign up for “ISS Sighting Alerts” so you will know when ISS is visible.
ISS will be bright in the sky for these passes and if we are lucky we may even be able to see the Cygnus spacecraft “chasing” ISS. We won’t know until after launch if that is possible but I will update you.
Let's LIGHT THIS CANDLE!
Sky Guy in VA