Coming up soon, NASA Wallops will be launching a Minotaur Rocket from pad 0B. The Launch Date is July 15 with a time that is TBD. Now, this rocket is about half the size of the Antares rocket which recently has been used for International Space Station resupply missions.
This mission is a bit different. This 78-foot tall rocket, built by Northrup Grumman, is sending a classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office. The NRO is the U.S. Government agency in charge of the United States intelligence satellites.
Here’s a look at the launch map, and for us in Hampton Roads, we should be able to see it. If the launch is during the day, it may be too hard to see if from a distance with cloud cover and humidity in the air — which reduces the long-range visibility.
The Minotaur IV rocket is smaller than the Antares rocket but still can carry a 3800-pound payload to lower Earth orbit. This style of rocket has flown just six times. The first time was in 2010, and the most recent was in 2017.
The Wallops Visitor’s Center is going to be closed for the launch but will begin its webcast at 8:30 a.m. on July 15. If you are planning on going to watch this in person, remember these smaller rockets take off and appear to head into the sky a bit faster than the Antares rockets, so look closely.
There are parks on Chincoteague Island that make great spots to see rocket launches. NASA Wallops recommends Robert Reed waterfront park located on Main Street.
Meteorologist Jeff Edmondson