Saturday, April 13, 2013

NASA-Wallops Island Starts Commercial Cargo Space Launches w/Test

FILE - In this July 8, 2009 file photo provided by NASA, a specially designed rocket to test the Alternative Astronaut Escape System is launched from the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va.  Orbital Sciences is set to conduct a test launch of its Antares rocket under a NASA program where private companies deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Photo: NASA, Jim Mason-Foley

FILE - In this July 8, 2009 file photo provided by NASA, a specially designed rocket to test the Alternative Astronaut Escape System is launched from the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Va. Orbital Sciences is set to conduct a test launch of its Antares rocket under a NASA program where private companies deliver supplies to the International Space Station. Photo: NASA, Jim Mason-Foley

NASA's Wallops Island prepares for the spotlight

Updated 8:19 am, Saturday, April 13, 2013

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. (AP) — On one of Virginia's small barrier islands, a NASA facility that operates in relative obscurity outside scientific circles is preparing to be thrust into the spotlight.

On Wednesday, Orbital Sciences Corp. plans to conduct the first test launch of its Antares rocket under a NASA program in which private companies deliver supplies to the International Space Station. If all goes as planned, the unmanned rocket's practice payload will be vaulted into orbit from Wallops Island before burning up in the atmosphere on its return to Earth several months later.

The goal of the launch isn't to connect with the space station, but to make sure the rocket works and that a simulated version of a cargo ship that will dock with space station on future launches separates into orbit. Orbital officials say that should occur about 10 minutes after liftoff.

In that short period of time, Wallops Island will transition from a little-known launch pad for small research rockets to a major player in the U.S. space program.

More than 16,000 rockets have been launched from Wallops Island since 1945, but none has drawn the attention of Antares. Most of the launches are suborbital and focus on educational and research programs.

The Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia's rural Eastern Shore is small in comparison to major NASA centers like those in Florida, California and Texas. The site is near Maryland and just south of Chincoteague Island, which attracts thousands of tourists each summer for an annual wild pony swim made famous by the 1947 novel "Misty of Chincoteague." The Eastern Shore is dominated by forests and farmland, and Wallops Island's isolated nature, with marshland to its west and the Atlantic Ocean to its east, has also made it home to a Navy surface warfare combat center.


More - Link >>> http://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/NASA-s-Wallops-Island-prepares-for-the-spotlight-4432059.php#photo-4466672

Sources: Associated Press News Wire Service, San Francisco Chronicle.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < https://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetariu p.m. m.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
  < http://inclinedplane.tripod.com >
* Public Transit:
  < http://andrewcarnegie2.tripod.com/transit >

No comments:

Post a Comment