David Murr

Watch the Antares Rocket Launch from Wallops!

Update: Due to a wayward boat under the rocket’s flight path, the launch was scrubbed on October 27. A new launch window opens on Tuesday, October 28, at 6:22 PM EDT (22:22 UTC).

There’s a space-related doubleheader on tap for millions along the East Coast of the U.S. on Monday, October 27, 2014, about a half-hour after sunset!

At 6:45 PM EDT (22:45 UTC), an Orbital Sciences Antares rocket will launch a Cygnus capsule carrying 5000 pounds of cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Because this is a nighttime launch — a first for the Antares out of Wallops — it should be visible to millions along the East Coast. But wait, there’s more: the ISS will make a high and very bright pass over the mid-Atlantic less than five minutes after launch.

For viewers in the central Virginia area, you’ll want to look toward the east and southeast. The rocket should appear as a bright light traveling upward about 1–2 minutes after launch, depending on how far you are from Wallops. If you see the rocket “wink out” early on, don’t turn away just yet! There are two burn stages with a brief (approximately 45 second) coasting period in-between.

Orbital Sciences’ website has all the details on launch viewing, including when and how high up in the sky to look for your location.

Then, keep your eyes peeled for the ISS making its way overhead, moving roughly from the northwest to the southeast. For skywatchers in Virginia, it will be a nearly-overhead pass and very bright. Look for an unblinking, moving “star” cutting through the dusky sky.

And, of course, if you’re clouded-out or live outside of the eastern United States, you can always watch the launch on NASA TV. Coverage begins at 5:45 PM EDT (21:45 UTC).