Most major American rocket launches have been from Florida, which means I’ve never had a real opportunity to see one. However, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is beginning to host orbital rocket launches, in collaboration with the private company Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS). (Historically, Wallops has launched suborbital rockets and balloons.) So, I trekked over to Wallops Island, Virginia to watch the test launch of the new Antares rocket from Orbital Sciences Corporation. Unfortunately, that test was aborted during the countdown, but I managed to write a few pieces about the experience anyway. (Antares successfully reached orbit on Sunday, so all was well that ended well.)
- NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility hosts test of new commercial rocket
What the launch was all about, and why it’s a big deal.
- Life is full of rude awakenings: all systems not go for Antares launch
I wrote this piece immediately after the launch aborted, in the Wallops visitor center. This is how dedicated I am to my readers.
- Dispatches from a NASA spaceport: Adventures at an aborted rocket launch
Finally, my quasi-humorous account of the whole venture, with references to Elton John, Chewbacca, and Dan Quayle.