Outlook Good for Antares Launch Tonight – UPDATE

Outlook Good for Antares Launch Tonight – UPDATE

UPDATE, 4:20 pm ET:   The launch is now targeted for 6:10 pm ET, with NASA TV coverage beginning at 5:30 pm ET.   Upper level winds remain a concern.

ORIGINAL STORY:  The chances of favorable weather for the rescheduled launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares rocket tonight, Saturday, April 20, is 90 percent.   The launch window is open from 5:00 – 7:00 pm ET.  NASA TV will begin coverage at 4:30 pm ET.

The launch will take place from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA”s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA.   Weather permitting, a large part of the East Coast may be able to see it as illustrated on this map, courtesy of Orbital.


The first launch attempt was scrubbed on Wednesday when an umbilical detached prematurely.

This is a test launch of Orbital’s new rocket, developed as part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to facilitate commercial development of space transportation systems to take cargo to the International Space Station (ISS).   If this test is successful, a second test carrying Orbital’s Cygnus spacecraft will take place in about three months to demonstrate the rest of the mission profile to rendezvous and be berthed with the ISS.

Orbital is tweeting updates @OrbitalSciences.  Late this morning, a tweet said that “upper level winds are marginal based on earlier balloon data,” but otherwise the weather looks good.

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