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Commercialization

Wallops Launch Delayed By A Boat

By Keith Cowing
October 27, 2014
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Launch of Third Orbital Sciences Mission to Space Station Rescheduled; NASA TV Coverage Reset
“The third Orbital Sciences cargo mission to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract is scheduled to launch at 6:22 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Oct. 28, from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.”
Keith’s note: Tonight’s ORB-3 launch from Wallops was delayed by a boat in restricted waters offshore. I tried to find a copy of these restrictions. Not being a mariner, this is the best that I could do at the Coast Guard website but I can’t seem to find anything in it. Dan Leone found this at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency but I am not sure if there is anything in there either. I know there are maritime channels that are supposed to be monitored. Again, I am not a mariner and profess my ignorance. But if it is this hard to find these launch restrictions, is it any surprise that someone might not know that a launch is imminent? Is just assuming that people will know ahead of time the most efficient way to prevent a lunch delay on a multi-million dollar mission? Just wondering.
I asked NASA PAO for a copy of these restrictions. WFF PAO sent me this Notice to Mariners: Wallops Rocket Launch issued by NASA WFF on 16 October 2014. I have asked NASA how this is relayed to people who might be sailing offshore.
33 CFR 334.130 – Atlantic Ocean off Wallops Island and Chincoteague Inlet, Va.; danger zone.
“(1) Persons and vessels shall only be prohibited from entering the area when launch operations are being conducted.
What is Interesting is how the NASASocial #spacetweeps more concerned about villifying the boat and its owner and not seeing a launch (without any facts as to why the boat was there or whether NASA alerted everyone adequately) than the fact that NASA tried to launch until last second when safety regulations prevailed. The system may be inefficent – but it worked. If only these space tweeps could integrate a real world quotient into how they cover and report NASA activities.

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.