LIVE NOW: Minotaur rocket countdown from Wallops Island

Posted at 8:08 PM, Nov 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-19 20:12:47-05

Live streaming video by UstreamWallops Island, Va. – An Air Force Minotaur I rocket is scheduled to lift-off at 8:15 pm tonight from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The launch will be the second of a Minotaur from Wallops in the last three months, and it will set a record of 29 satellites launched from a single rocket.

The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge/Assateague Island National Seashore will be open for viewing the launch. Visitors to Assateague need to be on the island by 6 p.m. before the entrance gate closes.

The launch window runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. and backup launch days run through November 26. The entire process, from ignition to delivery of the satellites in orbit, will take a little less than 12 1/2 minutes.

The launch will be visible across Hampton Roads, and depending on atmospheric conditions will be seen from northern Florida to southern Canada and west to Indiana.

First sighting of the rocket

First sighting of the rocket

The primary payload for the ORS-3 mission is the U.S. Air Force STPSat-3 spacecraft, a mission that will demonstrate and validate launch and range improvements for NASA and the military. The launch also will be part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification process for the Minotaur rocket.

In addition, the rocket will deploy 28 cubesats and carry two non separating tertiary payloads. Among the cubesats being launched is TJ3Sat, the first satellite built by high school students to be launched into space. Also among the cubesats is NASA’s Small Satellite Program PhoneSat 2 second generation smartphone mission.

The Minotaur I is a four stage rocket capable of boosting up to 1,300 lbs. into low-Earth orbit. It combines two commercial upper stage motors and other technologies from Orbital Corp. with two government-supplied lower-stage rocket motors.