NASA rocket lights night sky over Maryland

  • A Minotaur rocket similar to the one scheduled to launch Tuesday.
A Minotaur rocket similar to the one scheduled to launch Tuesday. (NASA )
November 19, 2013|By Scott Dance, The Baltimore Sun

A rocket streaked through the sky Tuesday night in Maryland and for hundreds of miles across the eastern U.S. as NASA launched a mission from the Delmarva peninsula.

An Air Force Minotaur I rocket lifted off at 8:15 p.m. from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The launch is performing various tests as part of the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office's ORS-3 mission deploying satellites in space.

The launch timing, scheduled for between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., was dependent upon weather and atmospheric conditions. Backup launch days were scheduled through Nov. 26.

The launch was to be visible as far west as Indiana, north to Maine and Canada, and south to northern Florida. A map of launch visibility can be found here.

The launch comes a day after NASA launched an unmanned rocket bound for Mars, from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission, or MAVEN, will be observing characteristics of the Martian atmosphere and solar radiation's effects on it.

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