LIers may glimpse NASA rocket launch Tuesday

This undated handout photo, provided by NASA Ames This undated handout photo, provided by NASA Ames Research Center, shows NASA's PhoneSat, a four by four-inch "cubesat" that will use an Android smartphone as its "motherboard." Much of the U.S. East Coast is expected to get a view of a mid-Atlantic rocket launch Tuesday night, when the Air Force and NASA will try to put 29 tiny satellites into orbit, including the smartphone and a satellite built by students. Photo Credit: AP

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Weather is expected to be accommodating for viewing Tuesday evening's launch of a U.S. Air Force Minotaur 1 rocket, scheduled to lift off in a 7:30 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. window from a flight facility in Virginia.

The ORS-3 mission aims to launch 29 tiny satellites into orbit, including a smartphone and a 2-pound satellite built by high school students in Virginia.

Sky watchers looking to the south can expect to see the rocket once it clears the horizon, streaking up and arching across the sky, moving from right to left, said Bill Bogardus, president of the Custer Institute and Observatory in Southold.

There should be "a nice, clear south to southeast view" with the rocket appearing to those on Long Island shortly after it launches from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Wallops Flight Facility, he said.

That time lag, caused by curvature of the earth, should be about two minutes, according to a NASA flight visibility map.

Tuesday night's sky cover is expected to be about zero percent, making it "about as clear as we can get" for viewing, said David Stark, National Weather Service meteorologist based in Upton.

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Viewers can monitor launch status on Twitter at @NASA_Wallops and on the facility's Facebook page. Also, procedures will be webcast starting at 6:30 p.m. at ustream.tv/channel/nasa-tv-wallops.

Part of the rocket's mission is to deploy 29 satellites into space, according to the NASA website.

With The Associated Press

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