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The Entire East Coast Could See a Rocket Launch This Sunday

The Orbital ATK rocket is carrying supplies and experiments to the International Space Station.

Observers watch a Cygnus Orbital ATK on a ULA Atlas V rocket launch from Cape Canaveral in March, 2016. (NASA/Ben Smegelsky)

Update: And… it’s been postponed due to equipment problems until Monday, October 17, at 7:40 p.m. EDT.

Original: People of the Mid-Atlantic: This weekend, grab a lawn chair and the beverage of your choice and head to the roof. A rocket is launching for the International Space Station, and its fiery trail might be visible from South Carolina to Boston.

The Orbital ATK Antares rocket is scheduled to take off Sunday evening sometime after 8:03 p.m. EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Virginia coast. Depending on where you live, you could spot its ascent from 5 degrees above the horizon and upward. Here’s a map of visibility timing:

Orbital ATK

The weather looks to get a little cloudy on Sunday, but the launch is currently a go. If you’re wondering what’s on the rocket, it’s a Cygnus spacecraft stocked with supplies for astronauts, including “studies on fire in space, the effect of lighting on sleep and daily rhythms, collection of health-related data, and a new way to measure neutrons.” Stay on top of the launch status at NASA’s Orbital ATK blog.

About the Author

  • John Metcalfe
    John Metcalfe is CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, based in Oakland. His coverage focuses on climate change and the science of cities.