Rocket launches are a common sight in Florida, but sky-gazers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic will have a rare chance to see one from their backyard this week. As Penn Live reports, NASA's Terrier-Improved Malemute rocket could be visible from parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia after it launches Monday night.
The two-stage suborbital sounding rocket is scheduled to lift off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern daylight time (EDT) on Monday, March 21. The launch is part of a mission managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory/Air Force Office of Scientific Research called BOundary Layer Turbulence 2, or BOLT-2. The rocket will bring scientific instruments into sub-orbital space, where they will be used to study how heat, drag, and turbulence affect aircraft moving at high speeds.
If you live around the Chesapeake Bay region, you have a good shot at observing the first seconds of the mission from your home. In southern Delaware, the southeast coast of Maryland, and the northeast coast of Virginia, a bright object streaming through the sky will be visible within 10 seconds of the take-off time. Spectators in the rest of Maryland and Delaware, southern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, northeastern North Carolina, eastern Virginia, and the easternmost sliver of West Virginia will have to wait 10 to 30 seconds after take-off to spot it.
Space fans who live outside the visibility zone can stream it live from wherever they are. Coverage is scheduled to start on the Wallops YouTube page at 6:40 p.m. Updates on the launch will be posted to the Wallops Facebook and Twitter pages.
Bad weather could hurt your chances of seeing the rocket tonight, and it could possibly ground it altogether. If the launch is delayed due to weather or other issues, it will be rescheduled sometime between March 22 and April 1.
[h/t Penn Live]