Clear sky in South Jersey for evening rocket launch

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The Minotaur rocket will reach a height of 25 degrees in the sky above South Jersey/Orbital The Minotaur rocket will reach a height of 25 degrees in the sky above South Jersey/Orbital

New Jersey residents will have among the best views early tonight of a blazing Minotaur spacecraft rocketing into space through our southern sky.

Skywatchers from across the Middle Atlantic States, including the big cities of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York will have the chance to see about 90 seconds of Minotaur’s flight as it roars into space.

The Minotaur is scheduled to lift off 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19 from NASA’s Wallops Island launch facility in coastal northern Virginia. It is expected to be visible from South Jersey a few seconds after launch.

A clear sky is forecast to prevail across South Jersey and most of the Middle Atlantic States at launch time. South Jersey temperatures are predicted be in the upper 30s at launch time with a wind chill that will make temperatures feel like the lower 30s.

Nighttime launches are always popular with rocketry fans/NASA Nighttime launches are always popular with rocketry fans/NASA Minotaur will be visible along the United States East Coast and in southern Canada.

The Minotaur will take an east-southeast flight pattern, according to Orbital Sciences Corporation, which is providing the satellite that the Minotaur will carry into space. South Jersey residents will see Minotaur lift off to our southwest and travel toward the east.

Minotaur will reach a height of about 25 degrees in the sky as seen from South Jersey, which is about 100 miles north of the launch site.

In previous launches, South Jersey residents were able to see each stage’s flameout and the ignition of the next stage.

The Minotaur I Space Launch Vehicle provides a responsive, reliable, and cost-effective launch solution for U.S. government-sponsored spacecraft, according to NASA. It builds on a long background of dependable launch systems and has a demonstrated successful history. The Minotaur I SLV uses residual Minuteman II first and second stage rocket motors along with the upper two stages shared with other Orbital launch vehicles. The combination of decommissioned ICBM motors with commercial boosters and state-of-the-art hardware is one of Orbital’s unique strengths from experience spanning several decades.

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