OCEAN CITY — With another major hurricane pounding Bermuda on Thursday, a major rocket launch from NASA’s nearby Wallops Island Flight Facility originally set for Friday night has been pushed back to Sunday night.
NASA and its private sector partner Orbital ATK were originally scheduled to launch an upgraded Antares 230 rocket from the Wallops Island Flight Facility on Thursday, but that launch date was moved back to Friday earlier this week because of technical issues. However, with the powerful Hurricane Nicole swirling out in the Atlantic, the launch date was moved again to Sunday. If all goes as planned, the massive Antares is expected to launch shortly after 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Wallops officials announced on Thursday that NASA was closely monitoring Hurricane Nicole as it bore down on Bermuda because of the launch’s support systems on the island. The Antares rocket’s trajectory takes it from Wallops on Virginia’s Atlantic coast just south of Assateague and Ocean City across Bermuda on its flight into orbit. In addition, NASA and Orbital ATK maintain a tracking station on Bermuda that provides downrange tracking, telemetry and flight termination support if needed.