Space station supply mission launch slated to be visible Friday afternoon

A rocket carrying 3,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station is scheduled to launch Friday afternoon, and should be visible across the mid-Atlantic.

Orbital Sciences Corp. is slated to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft at 1:40 p.m. from NASA's Wallops Space Flight Facility on the Virginia portion of the Delmarva peninsula.

Aboard the Antares rocket's payload will be provisions, spare parts and equipment for science experiments. One experiment on board involves deploying a flock of "nanosatellites" designed to take images of Earth, while others were designed through the Student Spaceflight Experiment Program, according to NASA.

Within two minutes of the launch, the rocket is expected to be visible across most of the Eastern Shore, and within three minutes it should be seen streaking across the sky in Central Maryland, including Baltimore.

The launch will also be streamed online on NASA TV starting at 1 p.m.

If the launch goes on as scheduled, the spacecraft is expected to dock with the space station early Tuesday morning. On board is a crew of three Russian cosmonauts, a German astronaut and two NASA astronauts, including Cockeysville native Reid Wiseman.

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