Reader Chris has called my attention to a post on PilotOnline.com, noting that a rocket will be launched at 7:30 tonight by NASA and the Air Force.
Much of the U.S. East Coast is expected to get a view of a mid-Atlantic rocket launch tonight, when the Air Force and NASA will try to put 29 tiny satellites into orbit, including a smartphone and a satellite built by students.
The launch of the privately built Minotaur rocket is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from NASA’s Wallops Island, Va., launch site. Weather permitting, it should be possible to see it from Jacksonville to Maine and Montreal and as far west as Detroit and Dayton. (View a launch-visibility map here.) [JAC: I’ve put it below.]
The Orbital Sciences Corp. rocket is launching as an Air Force test program, carrying small satellites. One is an ordinary smartphone NASA converted and another was built by students at Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria.
Now I don’t know why they’re orbiting a smartphone, or what a launched rocket even looks like in the sky (sadly, I’m just out of in the viewing range), but you’ll be able to see it if you live in the area below (click to enlarge):