Update: Due to the presence of a sail boat in the vicinity of the rocket, last night's launch was rescheduled for today, Tuesday, October 28 at 6:22 pm EDT.
Weather permitting, tens of millions of people in the northeast United States will be able to view the launch of the Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket tonight for the ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-3). The rocket is currently set to launch at 6:45 pm EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. This will be the third Cygnus resupply mission to the ISS and the first night launch.
In the minutes that follow liftoff, the rocket will be visible to those living up in Massachusetts all the way down to those in North Carolina. Orbital Sciences has developed this map that will indicate when the rocket will be five degrees above the horizon for various locations. Of course, this map might not be perfectly accurate due to weather conditions, and the view could be blocked entirely by mountains, trees, skyscrapers, or other obstructions.
Image credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
The Cygnus spacecraft atop the rocket has been named the SS Deke Slayton, in honor of the man who was one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts and longtime champion of NASA’s efforts.
Anticipated view from the MLK Memorial in Washington DC. Image credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
The vessel is loaded with 2,290 kilograms (5,050 pounds) of cargo destined for the International Space Station, which is the heaviest payload delivered by a Cygnus vessel yet. Contents of the cargo include food and care packages for the crew, parts, experiments, and the Arkyd-3 satellite from Planetary Resources. This will test the gear to be used on the upcoming Arkyd Space Telescope, which had a monstrously successful Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2013.
Anticipated view from Fells Point in Baltimore, Maryland. Image credit: Orbital Sciences Corp.
If you live outside of the launch viewing area or if your view is not expected to be clear, NASA will be doing a live webcast of the event beginning at 5:45 pm EDT. NASA will also cover when the SS Deke Slayton docks with the ISS on November 2 at 7:00 am EDT. Both events can be viewed right here: