From time to time rockets are launched from the NASA installation at Wallops Island. Launches are clearly visible from our Potomac Bay waterfront. To see a launch from Wallops Island:
- Check the Wallops Island website for launch schedule. (See notes below.)
- A few minutes before launch time, go to our picnic area and go to the end of the deck that is over the Potomac. Face East — as you face the Potomac, turn right — Wallops is on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay. You cannot see the Eastern Shore but when the rocket lifts off you can’t miss it.
Here is a video made by one of our neighbors of the launch on January 24.
And here is a still shot moments after lift-off.
Notes on viewing launches from Wallops Island.
Most major launches from Wallops Flight Facility are streamed live on NASA TV at (https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv) . Use your cell phone, or, if you have an iPad Air that connects to the local cell phone network, take it with you so you can watch and listen to the NASA live broadcast. You will hear status updates; notices of delays; and the countdown.
Take your video camera and make a video of the launch.
Nighttime launches are spectacular — the whole Eastern sky lights up, you can hear the roar of the rocket engines, and follow the path of the rocket until it disappears from view, miles above the Earth.
From time to time a launch is scrubbed and rescheduled. Don’t be disappointed if the launch is scrubbed — it will happen, watch the Wallops Island site for the new date and time.
NASA Wallops Island is not the only source of launch info. Do an Internet search for “Wallops Island launches” where you will find other sites with launch info.
The Wallops Island installation is on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, near Chincoteague. It’s a 4- to 5-hour drive from our neighborhood. There are two routes: (1) From our neighborhood, cross the Nice Bridge over the Potomac into Maryland; go to Annapolis; Hwy 50 onto the Eastern Shore; to Chincoteague; Wallops Island is before you get to Chincotgeague; or, (2) South to Newport News, pick up I-64 East to Hwy 13 North, across the Bay Bridge, continue on Hwy 13 to Wallops.