Antares Launch from Wallops Is. on Monday

From: via Seesat-l <seesat-l_at_satobs.org>
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:39:07 -0400
The Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket and  Cygnus cargo freighter are 
set for launch at 6:45 p.m. EDT (2245 UTC) from the  Mid-Atlantic Regional 
Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.  

This particular time of liftoff might provide an interesting sky  show for 
those along the Middle-Atlantic coast.  For most locations,  sunset will 
have occurred about 45 minutes earlier; the Sun at the scheduled  liftoff time 
will be approximately 9 degrees below the horizon.
 
Visibility of the Antares first stage will rely upon the light emitted by  
twin AJ26 main engines, which were built in Russia in the 1970s; imported to 
the  United States and upgraded with modern systems by Aerojet Rocketdyne. 
The  Antares rocket will fire its AJ26 engines for nearly four minutes 
before letting  go of the first stage to fall back into the sea.
 
At T + 5 minutes 40 seconds, the Antares will ignite a solid-fueled Castor  
30XL upper stage motor made by ATK to send it into orbit. Its altitude at 
this  point will be about 106 miles (171 km).  At this height -- if my  
calculations are correct -- the vehicle will have risen into sunlight and the  
resultant exhaust trail from the Castor 30XL upper stage motor will be  
illuminated leaving a long, glowing contrail in its wake.
 
While many West Coast residents may be quite familiar with such launch  
sightings by Minotaur rocket launchings from California's Vandenberg Air Force  
Base, they are very here rare in the East, and as such may end up 
surprising  millions of people if Antares launches on Monday evening as  planned.
 
Does anybody have any thoughts to add on this?
-- joe rao

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Received on Sat Oct 25 2014 - 10:40:09 UTC

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