Monday, February 3, 2020

Temporary flight restriction planned for rocket launch from Virginia

Drone operators are being urged to exercise caution if using their aircraft to view the Antares rocket launch and avoid flying over the public and NASA Wallops Flight Facility property in Virginia on Sunday.

Drones, also called unmanned aerial systems, should stay clear of Wallops Flight Facility, the marsh areas between Wallops Island and the mainland and the Atlantic Ocean east of Wallops Island. A Temporary Flight Restriction and other Special Use Airspace will be activated by the Federal Aviation Administration.  Fines and penalties are applicable and will be enforced, NASA said in a notice posted on their website.

“There will be several thousand people in the area viewing the launch,” the agency said. “Public safety is paramount and drones should not be flown over crowds. The Wallops Range is committed to making sure that the viewing public is safe and that drones do not pose a threat to the success and safety of launch operations.”

The Northrop Grumman Antares rocket will launch at 5:39 p.m. EST from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

The launch may be visible, weather permitting, to residents throughout the mid-Atlantic region and possibly the East Coast of the United States.

This will be Northrop Grumman’s 13th commercial resupply services mission to deliver NASA science investigations, supplies and equipment to the International Space Station.

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