ACCOMACK COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — One small step for space exploration, one giant leap for Virginia! After several pushbacks, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is expected to launch Rocket Lab USA’s first Electron rocket from Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
The 59-foot-tall rocket is planned to lift off from Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island on Tuesday, Jan. 24. The launch window for the mission will be between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“It’s hopefully the start of them developing regular launches out of Wallops,” said Jack Singal, a professor at the University of Richmond.
There will also be viewing locations on Chincoteague Island, including Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.
“Look out to the east, about 90 seconds after launch at the horizon,” Singal said. “You’ll probably see it going up into the sky and then fading.”
The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout much of the east coast of the United States, including along beaches in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
The mission, named “Virginia is for Launch Lovers,” will not feature any human passengers, instead deploying radio frequency monitoring satellites.
“These days you can do an awful lot with a satellite the size of a shoebox,” said Robert Gowdy, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. “Virginia has a space program now.”
For those that cannot watch in person, a live launch webcast will be available beginning about 40 minutes before the launch.