Look up Tuesday night and you may just see a rocket over the skies of Centreville taking a special package into space.
A U.S. Air Force Minotaur I rocket is scheduled to lift-off at 7:30 p.m. from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad-0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
The Minotaur will launch the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office's ORS-3 mission, which features the deployment of 29 satellites in space.
The launch window is 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. The backup launch days run through November 26. And the prospects for seeing the rocket from Centreville are good: The weather forecast calls for clear skies during launch hours.The launch may be visible from northern Florida to southern Canada and west to Indiana.
Among the goods being hurled into space: A "cubesat" built by students at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.
"The Minotaur's primary payload is the Space Test Program Satellite-3 (STPSat-3), an Air Force technology-demonstration mission. Thirteen small cubesats aboard are being provided through NASA's Cubesat Launch Initiative. Among the cubesats is NASA's Small Satellite Program PhoneSat 2 second generation smartphone mission. Also included is the first cubesat built by high school students."
If you want to see the launch from a closer view, the NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore will be open for viewing. Visitors to Assateague need to be on the island by 6 p.m. before the entrance gate closes.