Monday, September 2, 2013

Live on the East Coast? Watch a Moon Mission Launch this Friday!

This Friday, at 11:27 pm EST, the Minotaur V rocket will launch from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It's going to take NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) to space, so that it can orbit the moon and collect cool new information about our big rocky neighbor.
Image credit: NASA Ames/ Zion Young

If it does indeed launch this Friday (depends on the weather), the following will happen:

1. It'll get into orbit around the moon on October 5th.
2. It'll mark another first in privatizing rocket science--this launch is done with the Minotaur rocket from Oribital sciences.
3. It'll be VISIBLE to people living on the East Coast of the U.S.!

If you're anything like me and would love to see this happen from your backyard, here's how:

Listen into NASA TV to make sure the launch really is GO this Friday. If it is, make sure you're outside by 11:25 pm. Find a seat that will give you a clear view of the sky in the direction of Virginia (which will be dependent on where you live). Take a look at the map below to figure out how high in the sky to look (reminder, 10 degrees is about the size of a closed fist held extended out from your body). 

Finally, sit back and enjoy! Orbital has some great information on the various stages of launch you might see (aka, when things fall off the rocket!): find more information here.

Best of luck! And don't be late! The viewing window will only last a couple minutes. Rockets go fast.