April 17, 2013 11:25 am
Usually, residents of Florida and California have a leg up over the rest of the country when it comes to one of America’s most favorite past times: watching rockets soar into the sky. But in the early evening today, the Northeast coast will be treated to a special show. At around 5 p.m., from Maine to South Carolina, look up in the sky and you just may see the brand new Antares rocket climbing into the sky on its maiden voyage as it blasts off from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.
“We’ll lift off with approximately 750,000 pounds of thrust, weighing about 600,000 pounds,” said Frank Culbertson, a former shuttle commander who oversees Orbital’s advanced programs group. “So it’ll not race off the pad, but it will accelerate very quickly once it gets going.
For those not in the northeast, or if clouds mar your view, NASA will be streaming the show live starting at 4 pm.
The Antares rocket is a huge machine, a two-stage booster rocket that stands 131 feet tall, says Space.com. The rocket is designed to carry cargo to the International Space Station, and will be the first direct competitor of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket in the burgeoning private space race. This evening’s launch will be the rocket’s first.
According to CBS News, the weather may not play nicely with Orbital Science Corp’s test. If the launch is scrubbed, they’ll have openings to try again through the end of the week.
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