Wallops Island Rocket Launch Should Be Visible For MD Residents


Rocket Lab's Electron rocket on the pad at Launch Complex 2 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia is set to launch Jan. 24 with radio frequency monitoring satellites. Marylanders should be able to see the rocket in the sky. (Credit: Brady Ke

MARYLAND - Maryland residents may see a 59-foot-tall Electron Rocket streaking across the sky tomorrow.

The Electron, a rocket made by Rocket Lab USA, will lift off from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island. The rocket is on its way to deploy radio frequency monitoring satellites for the HawkEye 360 navigation system.

The launch was initially scheduled for early December before weather concerns, and launch logistics forced NASA to delay.

The updated launch date and time for this project, which NASA calls "Virginia is for Launch Lovers," is 6 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24. Due to unfavorable weather conditions in the Wallops area on Monday, Jan. 23, the launch was pushed back a day. The weather for Tuesday is 90 percent favorable for the evening launch window.

NASA has also scheduled backup launch dates in case of weather-related or other delays.

Weather permitting, the launch should be visible to residents in most of Maryland and a large swath of the east coast.

These circular areas show where and when people may see Rocket Lab's Electron launch in the sky, depending on cloud cover. Credits: NASA Wallops/Mission Planning Lab

"From a distance, Electron will appear like a bright, fast-moving star climbing upward through the night sky," the Wallops Flight Facility said.

Favorable viewing locations for the launch are on Chincoteague Island, including Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road, spanning the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.

The Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware Atlantic beaches will also provide good viewing locations.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open for this launch, starting at 4 p.m. on Jan. 24.

"With this mission, NASA is helping foster a growing low-Earth space economy and continues Wallops' 35-year history of support to the commercial launch industry," NASA said.

A live webcast will stream at www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream about 40 minutes before launch. 

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