If you are in to space, or just want to see something cool, look to the east through the forecasted clear skies just after 11 PM tonight to see one of the largest rockets ever launch from Cape Canaveral. You can see this treat from right here in Wesley Chapel.
When? The launch is on track for Feb. 9 at Space Launch Complex-41 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch is planned for 11:03 p.m. EST at the opening of a two-hour launch window.
Its unique: Due to Atlas V’s strap-on solid rocket motors, the rocket will leave behind a smoky trail, different from SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which has a liquid rocket booster. Though the launch is set to occur at night, spectators should still be able to see some of the rocket’s smoky, vertical plume as it soars to space.
What is the mission? The 10-foot-long spacecraft will make up-close observations through telescopes and capture the first photos of the star’s poles. Traveling as close as 26 million miles away from the sun, Solar Orbiter will use its 10 different instruments to measure magnetic fields, waves, energetic particles and plasma escaping the sun while they are still in a pristine state.