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Space Policy Events for the Week of April 14-19, 2013

Marcia S. Smith
Posted: 14-Apr-2013
Updated: 14-Apr-2013 09:11 AM

The following events may be of interest in the coming week.  The House and Senate both are in session.

During the Week

The big event this week is the scheduled first launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares rocket from Wallops Island, VA.  Orbital is the competitor to SpaceX for commercial cargo launches to the International Space Station (ISS).   It was chosen for NASA's Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program a year and a half after SpaceX (replacing RocketPlane-Kistler, which failed to meet its milestones) so is just now getting to the flight test stage.  NASA continues to hope that Orbital's services will begin this year.  It has signed a contract for eight Orbital launches in addition to the 12 with SpaceX.  

The launch of Antares, with a mass simulator of Orbital's Cygnus spacecraft, is scheduled for Wednesday between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm ET.  Launch delays, especially with new rockets, are not uncommon.   Additional launch opportunities exist through April 21.    Orbital is launching from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) at NASA's Wallops Flight Faclity on the coast of Virginia near the southern tip of the Delmarva (Delaware-Maryland-Virginia) peninsula, about 3-4 hours driving time east of Washington, D.C.   If the weather conditions are just right, and especially if the launch takes place in the latter part of the launch window when the skies are darker, it may be visible from the DC area. 

Sunday, April 14

Monday-Friday, April 15-19

Monday-Tuesday, April 15-16

Tuesday, April 16

Tuesday-Wednesday, April 16-17

Wednesday, April 17

Thursday, April 18

Thursday-Friday, April 18-19

  • NAC Science Committee, NASA HQ, Washington, DC
    • Session on April 18, 9:30-11:00 am ET, is joint with NAC Human Exploration and Operations Committee

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