November 19, 2013
Air Force Minotaur Rocket Launching from Virginia November 19
A United States Air Force Minotaur I rocket is scheduled to lift off at 7:30 p.m. EST, Nov. 19, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's Pad-0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The Minotaur will launch the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office's ORS-3 mission, which features the deployment of 29 satellites into space. The launch window is 7:30–9:30 p.m. The backup launch days run through November 26.
The launch may be visible, depending on atmospheric conditions at one's viewing site, from northern Florida to southern Canada and west to Indiana.
The ORS-3 mission, also known as an enabler mission, will demonstrate and validate launch and range improvements for NASA and the military. These include automated trajectory targeting, range-safety planning, and flight termination systems. The launch also will be part of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) certification process for the Minotaur rocket. The FAA has licensing authority over American commercial rockets.
The Minotaur's primary payload is the Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3), an Air Force technology-demonstration mission. Thirteen small cubesats aboard are being provided through NASA's Cubesat Launch Initiative. Two of the cubesats aboard were designed and built by APL. Also among the cubesats is NASA's Small Satellite Program PhoneSat 2 second-generation smartphone mission as well as the first cubesat built by high school students.
The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore will be open for viewing the launch. Visitors to Assateague need to be on the island by 6 p.m. before the entrance gate closes.
For more information on the ORS-3 mission, visit http://go.usa.gov/Wgbd.
Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on launch day at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops.
Launch status also is available on the Wallops launch status line at 757-824-2050.
Android users can download the "What's Up at Wallops" app, which contains information on the launch as well as a compass showing the precise direction for launch viewing. The app is available for download at http://go.nasa.gov/17veCYT.