You Can See a NASA Rocket Launch From the East Coast Tomorrow

Nov 15, 2018

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While New York City may not normally be conducive to stargazing, people here and elsewhere along the Eastern Seaboard may soon have the chance to see some exciting celestial activity.

Early Friday morning at precisely 4:23am, NASA will launch its Antares rocket. And even if you can’t make it to the NASA Visitor Center on Wallops Island in Virginia to witness the event in person, you could still catch sight of the spectacle.

According to Keith Koehler, a specialist in the Wallops Office of Communications,”The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents up and down the East Coast of the United States.”

The Antares will be carrying the Cygnus spacecraft, a vessel bound for the International Space Station stocked with nearly 7,500 pounds of food, supplies and a 3D printer capable of repurposing recyclable plastic waste.

People from Wilmington, North Carolina all the way north to Hartford, Connecticut may be able to spot the rocket as it exits Earth’s atmosphere. People in Virginia Beach are projected to see the rocket around 60 seconds after launch. New Yorkers, meanwhile, might notice the rocket barreling toward space 150 seconds after liftoff. All of this, of course, assumes the skies are clear.

(Image courtesy of NASA.)
(Image courtesy of NASA.)

The rocket was initially slated to launch early Thursday morning, but was postponed due to a developing storm. Despite the raincheck, NASA meteorologists have predicted only a 45% chance of “acceptable” weather Friday morning, according to AccuWeather. So space-fanatics should be prepared for the launch to be rescheduled again.

Spectators must orient themselves toward Wallops Island for a chance to glimpse the rocket. Visibility is also dependent on distance from the launch site: Those farther away should expect to see a streak of bright orange marking the early morning sky.

If you aren’t in the rocket’s projected path on Friday, it’s time to start planning your next trip to the East Coast. The Antares rocket will launch from the same spot in April 2019.

In the meantime, the launch will also be available to watch live on Ustream.

Featured photo by Joel Kowsky /NASA via Getty Images

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