Just a few decades ago, rocket launches were big news. As recently as the late ’90s, people gathered around televisions and made treks to Cape Canaveral to watch the Space Shuttle break through the Earths’ atmosphere. Sadly, since the Space Shuttle program has been retired and NASA has retooled its space program, space exploration hasn’t been front-page news—and launches are rarely highlighted, even by NASA.
To Infinity & Beyond!
Today NASA is offering a rare opportunity for you to watch a rocket launch live. The launch will be visible by the naked eye as far north as Cape May, New jersey, and south to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If you’re hoping to watch the launch locally, officials request onlookers view the take-off from Assateague Beach.
The rocket will launch from one of NASA’s lesser-known launch facilities on Wallops Island, Virginia.
The two-stage Antares rocket is 131 feet tall and will carry a mock 8,300-pound payload, or “mass simulator” to duplicate the weight of real cargo. NASA estimates that there’s a 45 percent chance of a successful launch—weather permitting. “Low clouds are the primary concern for a weather violation,” NASA officials said.
Built by the Dulles-based Orbital Sciences Corporation, the Antares could pave the way for future unmanned flights to destinations like the International Space Station. That is, if the launch is successful. Rocket launches are notoriously unpredictable: Orbital Sciences halted engine tests on Saturday to replace a faulty valve. If the launch does need to be rescheduled, NASA will try again sometime between April 18th and 21st.
The test flight of the 13-story Antares rocket will be its first and NASA’s live stream of the rocket launch will begin at 1 pm PDT (4 pm EDT). The flight will take the rocket 160 miles above the Earth .
It is Rocket Science!
Parents whose kids who have their eyes on the stars should consider sending their kids to a space camp – or better yet, a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) tech camp that offers kids a chance to explore all that science has to offer.