wallops island


For the first time, a spacecraft is to be launched from Virginia to the moon.

The launch is scheduled for Sept. 6 from NASA’s facility at Wallops Island on Virginia’s Atlantic coast.
If all follows the plan, and the clouds cooperate, the 11:27 p.m. launch should be visible in Washington and in much of the Northeast.

The mission will not land on the moon, but it is intended to go into orbit around it.

The robotic mission is to collect detailed information about the moon’s thin atmosphere. Sometimes thought to be nonexistent, the lunar atmosphere has been described as extremely tenuous and fragile, but present.

According to the space agency, the launch will record many firsts. One will be the first launch beyond Earth orbit from the Virginia facility.

It also will be the first flight for the Minotaur V rocket, NASA said. NASA said the five-stage Air Force rocket is an excess ballistic missile that was transformed into a space-launch vehicle. It will boost the space probe into position for it to reach lunar orbit.

Very neat! I can’t wait to see this one go up. Virginia will now be on the space map.

I have passed that Wallop’s Island facility on the way to Chincoteague Island. It looks very NASA-like.  I have never stopped.  I am not even sure they would let me in.


6 Thoughts to “Moon mission to launch from Wallop’s Island”

  1. Wolverine

    That is neat. First I’ve heard about this one. Virginia gets a key piece of the Space Coast.

  2. Scout

    Sean Connaughton (Prince William’s Evil One) and Bob McDonnell (of recent ethical-myopia fame) get a lot of credit for making Wallops Island the alternative to Cape Canaveral. Wallops is now a joint venture between VDOT, NASA and Orbital Sciences. Space Station resupply vehicles will be launched from here. Wallops is well on the way to being one of the world’s most important commercial spaceports. This moon shot is very big news. If the atmospheric conditions are favourable, you may be able to see this launch from around our neck of the woods (alas, I’ll be on the other coast when it happens).

    1. You should change your trip for this event! Will you be gone long?

      I was over there about 5 years ago and it was impressive from the road.

  3. Scout

    I witnessed a launch of a prototype supply ship for the Space Station there a few months ago. It’s absolutely phenomenal what the Commonwealth and its partners have done with that facility. If you want a closer view (and want to feel the earth move – literally) go to Chincoteague/Assateague. The problem is that a lot of things can throw off the countdown, so you don’t have assurance that these things will go as scheduled.

    It took some vision (of the sort generally lacking in government at all levels) for the Commonwealth to step in to make this work, so I have no problem giving the current state administration full marks for what they’ve done.

  4. Wolverine

    Some really amazing things going on out there in the space program. NASA, working with others on an airborne science mission, has developed a method for seeing right through the ice sheets at the poles. They have discovered a canyon under a mile of ice on Greenland which is up to 2600 feet deep and about 460 miles long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon. I believe they think it may carry melt from underneath the ice sheet to the Arctic Ocean.

    Also Science News has a story about our use of telescopes to watch a gas cloud at the center of the Milky Way being feasted upon by the galaxy’s largest black hole. That gas cloud has been traveling through space at 3,000 kilometers per second, 100 times the speed at which we orbit the sun and 1% of the speed of light. The black hole is grabbing at the cloud and stretching it out. Estimates are that the cloud will come closest to the black hole early next year, when telescopes around the word will focus on the drama. One astrophysicist said the remnants of the stretched out cloud will be swallowed by the black hole. “It would be the last echo of the death of this cloud.”

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