(tncms-asset)efc57de6-949b-11e6-a817-00163ec2aa77(/tncms-asset)If you closely watched the southern skies for a planned rocket launch Sunday evening and were disappointed, there’s good reason you didn’t see anything.
The rocket launch originally planned for Sunday evening was delayed 24 hours, and is currently planned for 7:40 p.m. Monday evening.
The delay was due to a problem with one of the cables near the launch pad, which is expected to be fixed by the time of Monday’s launch.
If the launch goes off as planned with no further delays, South Jersey will be able to see the launch of the private rocket from a NASA facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, Monday evening. That’s presuming skies are partly to mostly clear, which is the current forecast.
The two-state Antares rocket developed by Orbital ATK and carrying a Cygnus cargo ship to the International Space Station is scheduled to launch at 8:03 p.m. Sunday evening, weather conditions permitting.
The NASA facility is about 80 miles south of Cape May, which gives most of South Jersey a good seat to view the launch. According to a report on Space.com, the rocket will be visible in South Jersey 60 to 90 seconds after launch and reach a maximum height about 15 to 20 degrees above the horizon. Those hoping to see the launch should look toward the south to southeast sky and have a clear view of the southern horizon.
The last time an Antares rocket launch was attempted from Wallops Island was Oct. 28, 2014. That mission failed when the rocket exploded seconds after liftoff.
The launch window is only five minutes long. If conditions aren’t ideal, the launch will be delayed.
In South Jersey, the best view will be along the shore and the lower Cape, closer to the launch site, where the rocket will reach a higher point in the sky. However, all of South Jersey will have a view of the launch, weather permitting.
NASA TV will broadcast the launch.