NASA and Northrop Grumman plan to launch the Cygnus spacecraft Thursday night on board the Entress Rocket from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spacecraft Pad 0A at NASA’s Wall Lops flight facility on the east coast of Virginia.
Weather permitting, the projection will be visible from Carolinas to Connecticut. Night launches like these may be easier to see hundreds of miles away from the launch site. Tonight between 9:40 a.m. and 9:45 p.m.
A clear view of the north-east from the eastern sky will provide the best view. Darken your skies and the fewer buildings, trees and other clutter on the horizon the better.
The five-minute launch window opens at 9:38 p.m., but you’ll have to wait a while after launch to see it. Due to the curvature of the Earth, the rocket will not reach the visible itude elevation from southeast of the triangle to Wilmington for just 2.5 minutes after launch. The northern areas of Elizabeth City and the Outer Banks will see it about a minute earlier.
Residents upstairs in downtown Raleigh apartment buildings will also have a good seat for the show.
The latest projection weather forecast shows 70% go conditions at the projection site. Here in Central North Carolina, the forecast called for an almost clear sky in the mid-60s with clouds rising overnight.
Live coverage of the launch will begin at 9pm EDT and will be broadcast on NASA television and streaming on the agency’s website. You can also follow the progress of the launch on the Wall Street Options Mission Status Center
What’s on board
The launch will bring 7,758 scientific research, supplies and hardware to astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
- Universal Waste Management System (UWMS): Next Pay Generation Space-Toilet. This provides another fully self-contained microgravity-compatible toilet for the crew aboard the ISS, a similar design planned for the Orion Capsule.
- Crew Emergency Breathing Air Assembly (CEBAA): Emergency air supply for up to five crew members, such as ammonia leaks in an emergency.
- New Acrylic Coppola Scratch Pen: This upgraded side trapezoid pen will provide improved optics for the crew when the copola is used.
- General Communication for Visiting Vehicles (C2V2) Data Converter: Hardware with ISS enables you to upgrade software used for docking various types of cargo and crew capsules.
- Functional Cargo Blu-ray Hardware: Fan, battery and consumer hardware to support scheduled maintenance in on-orbit. The crew spends most of their time cleaning and maintaining the ISS.
- Advanced Reactive Exercise Device (ARED) Hardware Replacements: Spare parts, including belts, rails, and replacement bench covers for crew exercise equipment. The crew schedule includes important time to exercise to prevent bone and muscle loss while in orbit.
In addition to the standard menu and the crew’s exclusive food containers, NASA shared a list of fresh food included in the crew-requested shelf freeze and cargo:
Garlic, apples, baby carrots, grapefruit, oranges, cherry tomatoes, brie, prosciutto, chorizo, cranberries covered with dark chocolate, Genoa salami, hot chocolate, prelane pecans, smoked gourds, smoked sauces.
Post flight experiments
Cygnus will remain attached for about three months when it will be detached from the station and move on to its expanded mission.
- Spacecraft Fire Safety (Sapphire): The fourth in a series of studies on how fire behaves in microgravity, with the aim of helping to develop procedures for crews to handle fire emergencies in space.
- Sharkset: Ka-Band Software software defined radio, a pathfinder for technologies with applications in 5G, advanced satellite communications
Northrop Grumman announced in September that the spacecraft would be named after NASA astronaut Kalpana Chawla, India’s first woman to enter space. Chawla was lost along with six of his cremates during Mission STS-107 in 2003 when the space shuttle Columbia failed to return to Earth in 2003.