Wallops To Launch Rocket Next Week To Space Station

WALLOPS ISLAND — Another significant launch event is set for next week from the Wallops Island Flight Facility with Orbital Sciences expected to send up an Antares rocket carrying needed supplies to the International Space Station.
Four the second time in about four months, NASA and its private sector partner Orbital Sciences is expected to launch a major Antares rocket from the Wallops Island Flight Facility along the Virginia coast just south of the resort area. The launch is tentatively set for Tuesday at 1:55 p.m. and, weather permitting, should be visible across the mid-Atlantic region from New York to the Carolinas with the best vistas of the rocket streaming across the Tuesday afternoon sky in areas in close proximity to Wallops including Assateague and Ocean City.
The Antares rocket will carry Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station. The cargo craft will be fitted with 2,780 pounds of supplies for the station, including vital science experiments to expand the research capability of the Expedition 38 crew members aboard the orbiting laboratory along with crew provisions, spare parts and experiment hardware.
Also on board will be 23 student experiments that will involve over 10,000 students at various locations monitoring the progress from the ground. The experiments will involve life sciences topics ranging from amoeba reproduction to calcium in bones to salamanders.
The Antares launch was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but issues with a faulty pump module at the International Space Station forced the mission to be scrubbed. For two days around Christmas, scientists aboard the International Space Station performed a series of intricate space walks to repair and replace the damaged pump module in preparation of the arrival of the Antares rocket from Wallops next week.
There has been a significant increase in the number and frequency of launches from Wallops in recent years as the facility has become the focal point of NASA’s space program in the wake of the dismantling of the old space shuttle program. In September, Wallops launched its first significant Antares rocket to deliver needed supplies to the International Space Station and Tuesday’s planned launch is the second in what is expected to be a long series.
The Antares rocket went up at 11 a.m. on Sept. 19 and despite the daytime launch provided a spectacular mid-morning show for viewers on the ground across the Lower Shore and much of the mid-Atlantic region. Tuesday’s planned launch should be no less spectacular as the Antares rocket begins its 17,000 mile-plus trip to rendezvous with the International Space Station.