UPDATE: NASA’s rocket launch from Wallops Flight Facility canceled again tonight
UPDATE: The rocket launch was postponed again Tuesday night, NASA Wallops tweeted. The postponement was due to cloudy skies, according to the announcement. The next launch date will be Wednesday, May 12 at 8:06 p.m.
NASA will try for the fourth time on Tuesday evening to launch a rocket in space of its Wallops flight facility in eastern Virginia that could leave a colorful cloud of vapor visible along the east coast.
If the launch of Black Brant XII the rocket sounding finally occurs and conditions along the east coast are right, the rocket launch could be visible from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
The forecast is not good for Tuesday night in New Jersey, with partly cloudy skies and possible downpours, according to AccuWeather.com. The Cloud Clover will be 37% in Newark, 43% in Trenton, 39% in Atlantic City, 40% in Camden and 31% in Hackettstown.
Monday’s rocket launch was postponed due to “upper level winds not within the limits required for a safe launch.” It was the third day in a row that the launch was postponed. On Tuesday evening, NASA Wallops tweeted that the launch was underway.
Tuesday’s launch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. at the earliest with forecasters calling for dry conditions, mainly clear skies at 8 p.m. and surface winds below 10 mph in Wallops Island, Va. Cloudiness is expected to increase significantly shortly after sunset at 8:01 PM.
NASA says the rocket can be visible from far south New Jersey within 10 seconds of launch, most areas of New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania and New York in 10 to 30 seconds. after launch, and far north New Jersey, most of Pennsylvania. and most of New York State 30 to 60 seconds after launch.
“To most people, the rocket is going to look like a small, fast-moving dot in the sky, similar to the passage of the International Space Station, but much faster,” NASA noted on its Wallops Flight Facility Twitter page.
NASA said two harmless clouds of vapor would form north of Bermuda approximately 9 minutes and 30 seconds after launch on the mission and that these clouds – likely to be purple in color – could also be briefly visible from the eastern United States.
Chris Bakley, an astronomical expert and astro-photographer from South Jersey, said you won’t need a telescope or binoculars to see the rocket or the clouds of vapor. But clear skies and a clear view of the southeast horizon are essential.
How to watch the launch on video
If you don’t have a good vantage point to see the rocket launch, you can check it out on it NASA Video Stream. The stream will start uploading approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled launch time.
the NASA mission is officially known as KiNet-X, and the space agency says it is designed to study how “energy and momentum is transported between different regions of space that are magnetically connected.”
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Jeff Goldman can be reached at [email protected].
Len Melisurgo can be reached at [email protected].