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Antares Rocket Scheduled to Launch from Wallops Tomorrow

Ocean City residents should get ready to watch the Antares rocket carrying the Cygnus space freighter to the International Space Station this weekend. Viewing should be  great from the beaches with predictions for sun both Saturday and Sunday. Bring your hot chocolate, folding chairs and binoculars to watch history being made from Wallops once again.  It’s pretty exciting to have rockets launching from your backyard, and for those of us who watched the Apollo missions to the moon on TV, it’s amazing to think of how far we’ve come.  If you want to see a rocket launch, not on TV but from the beach in front of your hotel, read on.

Who knows, with the experiments on this rocket, we may be able to fly with lithium batteries one day.

About this Rocket Launch from Wallops Island in Virginia

The NG-17 Northrop Grumman Antares rocket 17th resupply mission to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch Saturday, February 19, 2022.  It will be carrying the Northrop Grumman Cygnus space freighter into space loaded with over 8300 pounds of science investigations, supplies and experiments.  This rocket will boost the Cygnus into space in only nine minutes and the early stages of this resupply mission will be visible from Ocean City if the weather cooperates.  The launch is currently scheduled for just after noon tomorrow.

A weather report was just issued showing that ground and upper level winds are a concern for the launch on Saturday, but the weather for Sunday looks great.

We are within the 48 hour launch window and a pre-launch briefing is scheduled for today at 1 pm. You can listen live on the NASA live-streaming site.

What This Mission Includes

The Nasa site details what the planned space station research supported by this mission contains:

  • a study that examines the effects of a drug on breast and prostate cancer cells
  • a new combustion facility
  • an investigation from Colgate-Palmolive that will leverage the acceleration of skin aging in microgravity to help create and validate an engineered tissue model to serve as a platform for testing potential products to protect aging skin
  • a demonstration of a lithium-ion secondary battery capable of safe, stable operation under extreme temperatures and in a vacuum environment
  • new hydrogen sensors that will be tested for the space station’s oxygen generation system
  • a system that will test hydroponic and aeroponic techniques for plant growth and allow scientists to observe root growth through video and still images

You can find more information about Northrop Grumman’s commercial resupply to the only laboratory in space here.

Watching the Rocket Launch

Whether the launch is Saturday or Sunday, people who want to view the launch are in for a treat.  The rocket is large so it’s very visible throughout the mid-Atlantic region and possibly the East Coast of the United States.  The beaches in Maryland and Delaware provide great viewing if the weather permits.  Ocean City, Maryland and Assateague Island are both perfect locations to settle in to watch the rocket.   The Visitors Center at Wallops will NOT be open for this launch.

Graphic courtesy of NASA

Live Coverage of the Mission Countdown

Live coverage of the mission countdown is scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 am on the Wallops IBM video site.  This is actually the NASA-TV Wallops page where you can also watch a Wallops promotional video to entice you while you wait for the actual mission countdown.

 

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