Antares Launch from Wallops Island due on Monday

From: via Seesat-l <>
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2014 16:50:15 -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 
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 
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 
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 
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  

Does anybody have any  thoughts to add on this?
-- joe rao  

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Received on Sat Oct 25 2014 - 15:50:48 UTC

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