With so many celestial events lately, it might seem strange that the next space phenomenon to witness won’t be a natural occurrence, but launched into the cosmos by people. Just a few days after the alignment of the moon and mars, NASA is launching Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 1 rocket from the space agency’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Tuesday, carrying a payload on behalf of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
The rocket is a big enough vessel to be visible across several states in the early hours as you pour coffee or tune in to your local news broadcast before work. Here’s what you might expect from NASA’s forthcoming mission to outside of our planet’s atmosphere.
When is NASA’s Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 1 launch?
NASA is launching Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 1 rocket at 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 15 (9 pm AEST) from the Wallops Flight Facility, in what the agency hopes will present a small visual treat in the early morning hours for onlookers in the mid-Atlantic region.
Like many of the government contracts facilitated by NASA, the aerospace and defence company’s rocket will be ferrying three payloads for the NRO, which is a branch part of the Department of Defence. As NASA notes, the mission “named NROL-111, will be the third small launch USSF mission and the NRO’s second dedicated launch from Wallops in the last 12 months.”
Weather permitting, it’ll emit fiery streaks across the morning sky, visible for varying stretches of time, related to the distance from the launch site. Luckily, NASA provided a chart that should help convey how long the streaks will be visible for, measured in seconds immediately following the 7 a.m. launch.
NASA’s launch might be a bit too fleeting to make venturing outside the warmth of your home worth it, but the agency has provided a livestream for any of the early morning stragglers, which begins at 6:30 a.m. ET. After that, the lunar calendar swings back into motion, with a Strawberry Moon scheduled to greet revelers on June 24.