Lunar Launch Encounters Problems, Another Space Station Rocket Test in Offing

Sep 9, 2013

Lunar Launch from Wallops Flight Facility
Credit NASA Wallops/Chris Perry

Friday Launch

It was a historic weekend for NASA’s Flight Facility on Wallops Island.

Around 15-hundred visitors watched the first lunar launch last Friday from the Virginia facility.

Thousands more saw the rocket take flight from Maine to the Carolinas…with spectacular shot streaking across the sky above New York.

But the rocket immediately ran into some equipment problems.

By Saturday NASA officials said the rocket was still on track for the moon saying that the troubles would be worked out over the next two or three weeks.

WBOC reports that the rocket’s reaction wheels used to orient and stabilize the spacecraft were spinning too fast so they were turned off.

NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer will eventually reach the moon to take readings before crashing into the Lunar surface.

It’s also a historic moment for the facility and Virginia’s Eastern Shore where local government officials and businesses hope this will mean growth for the region.

Antares Rocket

 Cygnus Antares

Meanwhile, NASA and Orbital Sciences say there will be another launch from the Wallops Flight facility this September 17th.

It will be a demonstration mission that will be the first time the Cygnus spacecraft will deliver cargo to the International Space station.   

The spacecraft will ride aboard an Antares rocket with a 15 minute window for the launch.

The 13-hundred pounds of non-critical cargo will range from computer supplies and food bags to tools and several small experiments.

If successful the test will allow Orbital to begin transporting supplies on a regular basis to the International Space Station.