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Wallops Island Antares rocket launch postponed until Monday

RICHMOND, Va. — The latest Antares rocket from Orbital ATK will be now launched from the Wallops Island facility Monday evening at 7:40 p.m.  It was scheduled for Sunday evening, but there was an issue with a cable on some ground-support equipment during a pre-launch check.  There are no reported issues with the rocket or spacecraft, according to NASA.  This is a commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station.

Photo of Antares being raised into position on October 14, courtesy of Bill Ingalls, NASA.  Click here to watch a video of the raising.

Thanks to fair weather, the launch will be visible from Virginia and a lot of the Mid-Atlantic.   You will need a good view of the horizon that is not blocked by buildings or trees.  Viewing from an elevated position will work best.

In the eastern sky, the rocket will be visible above the horizon at the following angles:

Due to our proximity to the launch location, the viewing opportunity will begin within a minute or two after the scheduled 8:03 p.m. launch.


Also of note, the International Space Station will be visible.  In Richmond, you can see the ISS from 7:33 to 7:37 p.m. Sunday, and from 8:19 to 8:20 p.m.  Click here to see the exact time for your location and where in the sky it will be located.

Sunday evening’s original launch was already a rescheduled time.  The original launch date was postponed since Hurricane Matthew threatened the Wallops Island facility last weekend, and Hurricane Nicole threatened Bermuda this past week.  Bermuda has a monitoring facility needed for the launch.

This is the first launch of an Antares rocket since, October 28, 2014, when the rocket exploded on the launch pad.  The rocket has since been redesigned.

Click here to read more about the mission from NASA.