Those old jokes about something “not being rocket science” do not apply here on the VA eastern shore.
Because at the Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's Eastern Shore this past Sunday afternoon, Orbital Sciences Corporation, a VA-based U.S. commercial partner of NASA launched an Antares rocket into space carrying a “mass simulated payload.”
As we watched from our back patio around 5 pm,the rocket headed to orbit. Perfect weather conditions allowed viewing by spectators not only on the Eastern Shore, but other parts of the East Coast.
These photos were taken with a digital camera with a limited 12X digital zoom; Wallops Island is a 45-minute drive from our home.
It was a perfect countdown and launch as the Antares rocket roared off the launch pad. Before the engines were throttled down in Stage 1, the vehicle was traveling at more than 7,000 mph. The engine rumble was clearly heard.
The successful launch followed 2 earlier postponements last week. The original Wednesday launch date was scrubbed when a connecting cable came loose. The rescheduled Saturday launch was cancelled due to unfavorable wind conditions.The launch of the Antares rocket and payload from the Wallops flight facility is part of the effort to rely on U.S. companies for future launches of supplies and personnel to the International Space Station.
Orbital has a $1.9 billion with NASA to send eight resupply missions to the Space Station. The next Antares launch will be the first demo flight of the unmanned Cygnus spacecraft, set to bring a test payload to the ISS. That mission is set to take place in late June or early July.
YES, there is rocket science on the VA eastern shore.