Last month, NASA gave me an incredible opportunity to take me behind the scenes for the launch of TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, in Cape Canaveral, Florida. You can read more about TESS here, and even check out the tour and launch here!
Today, NASA contacted me to let me know that I was invited to attend ANOTHER launch, this time from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia! While TESS was launched on top of a SpaceX rocket, launch services for this mission will be provided by another company, Orbital ATK.
I was invited to attend the launched through a program NASA has, where they invite people who use social media to attend launches and share their experiences. If you are on social media and meet their requirements, you can apply to attend a NASA Social yourself!
This launch is a resupply mission to the International Space Station. The launch vehicle is an Antares 230, which will be launched from Pad 0A. According to Spaceflight101.com:
An Orbital ATK Antares rocket will lift the ninth operational Cygnus cargo resupply spacecraft into orbit for a mission to the International Space Station. The OA-9 mission will carry over three metric tons of cargo to the International Space Station as the first of two planned Orbital-ATK resupply missions in 2018 under an extension to the original Commercial Resupply Services contract to bridge a gap until CRS-2 enters operations. The Antares rocket will be flying in its upgraded 230 configuration with a pair of RD-181 engines powering its first stage and a Castor 30XL acting as second stage to lift the 6,200-Kilogram spacecraft into orbit.
I know what you’re thinking – NASA has a launchpad in Virginia? I thought the same thing, too!
I’ll be getting a tour of the facilities and talking to NASA staff, as well as Orbital ATK staff, on Saturday, May 19th. I’ll be posting updates all day to the aSE Facebook page as well as on Twitter as (@aSciEnthusiast). The launch itself will be at 5:04 AM Eastern time on Sunday, May 20th. That’s not a typo – it’s going to be at 5 in the morning.
I want to give a HUGE thank you to NASA for inviting me back for another NASA Social, and to you, my followers, for helping me earn this incredible opportunity!
Cover image via Spaceflight101.com