Watch the launch from Wallops tonight | Daily Planet | Air & Space Magazine

Watch the launch from Wallops tonight

A Minotaur rocket is launching from Wallops Island, Virginia tonight, with the Air Force Tacsat-3 spacecraft onboard, and I won't be there

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Launch pads on MARS (the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, that is)


I'm already kicking myself. A Minotaur rocket is launching from Wallops Island, Virginia tonight, with the Air Force Tacsat-3 spacecraft onboard, and I won't be there. I drove four and a half hours for the first launch attempt on May 5, but got rained out, and alas, can't make it back down for this one.

A shame, since orbital launches from Wallops are rare. The operators of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport hope that will change, though, and that their range becomes the go-to site for small launches.

Looking around Wallops' small visitor center while waiting on the weather two weeks ago, I learned something—that Wallops had put in a bid in 1958 to be the site of the first U.S. astronaut launch. But Alan Shepard launched instead from Cape Canaveral, three years later. Wallops did, however, play a part in the Mercury program, testing the capsule escape system in a series of Little Joe launches.

Watch tonight's Minotaur shot on the Wallops webcast. ( Update: The launch went off perfectly at 7:55 p.m. Eastern time, and Tacsat-3 was deployed 13 minutes later)

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