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Weather Looking Up in Chantilly for Minotaur V Rocket Launch to Moon

NASA mission should be visible from around town.

Minotaur rocket will orbit the moon, collect samples. Photo courtesy of NASA
Minotaur rocket will orbit the moon, collect samples. Photo courtesy of NASA

By Todd Richissin

The weather looks to be cooperating for NASA's return trip to the moon, which should be visible Friday night from Chantilly.

In an effort to collect information about the moon's atmosphere, the Minotaur V rocket is set to be launched Friday from NASA's Wallops Island facility on Virginia's coast in an effort to collect information from the moon's atmosphere.

While the mission won't land on the moon, the rocket is designed to orbit it, marking the first time the Virginia facility will host a launch that streaks beyond the Earth's orbit.

The night launch should make the rocket visible in Northern Virginia, Washington, D.C., and much of the Northeast. And the weather forecast for Chantilly for the rocket launch calls for only partly cloudy skies.

The launch window is from 11:27 p.m. to 11:31 p.m. 

Here's a reminder about what NASA has to say about seeing the rocket:

"As a reference, when you look at your fist with your arm fully outstretched, it spans approximately 10 degrees. Thus, if you are in Washington, DC, the highest point the Minotaur V will reach is approximately 13 degrees above the horizon, or just slightly more than a fist's width."

The rocket will be operated by a Virginia corporation, Orbital Sciences of Dulles.

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