Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport

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The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and, in the background, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility as seen in September 2012.


The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) is a commercial space launch facility located at the southern tip of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, in the Atlantic Ocean just east of the Delmarva Peninsula and south of Chincoteague, Virginia, United States.


In July 2003, Governors Robert Ehrlich of Maryland and Mark Warner of Virginia signed an agreement that directed the Secretary of Commerce and Trade of Virginia and the Secretary of Business and Economic Development of Maryland to form a working group to develop a concept and implementation plan for joint governance, operation, and administration of the commercial spaceport at Wallops Island. The spaceport, then known as the Virginia Space Flight Center, had been developed[when?] with a combination of federal, state, and private sector funding by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA).[citation needed]


Launch pad 0A with Antares rocket. At left is a water tower for supplying water for sound suppression.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport has two active launch pads. A third was proposed, but never built.

Launch pad 0B with Minotaur V rocket in September 2013.

Launch pad 0A (LP-0A) was built for the Conestoga rocket, which made its only flight in 1995.[1] The launch tower was subsequently demolished in September 2008,[2] and has now been rebuilt for use by the Orbital Sciences Antares.[3] The pad modifications for Antares included the construction of a Horizontal Integration Facility for launcher/payload mating and a wheeled transporter/erector that will "roll out and erect the rocket on its launch pad about 24 hours prior to launch."[3]

Launch pad 0B (LP-0B) became operational in 1999,[4] and was subsequently upgraded with the construction of a mobile service tower, which was completed in 2004.[5] It remains active, and is currently used by Minotaur rockets.

A third launch pad at the complex, to be used by HAD rockets, was proposed[when?] but never used.[6]

The facility suffered significant damage during the 28 Oct. 2014 Antares launch failure, according to NASA officials in the immediate aftermath.[7] The State of Virginia is seeking help from its two US Senators to obtain Federal funding for rebuilding the pad. Preliminary estimates for rebuilding the pad indicate the cost should be no more than US$20 million.[8]

Launch history[edit]

The first rocket to be launched from Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport[clarification needed] was an Orbital Sciences Minotaur I, at 12:00 GMT on 16 December 2006, with two spacecraft, TacSat-2 for the US Air Force, and GeneSat-1 for NASA.[9]

Launch Date (UTC) Vehicle Payload Launch pad Result Remarks
1[citation needed] December 16, 2006 12:00 Minotaur I TacSat-2 / GeneSat-1 Pad 0B Success[9]
2[citation needed] April 24, 2007 06:48 Minotaur I NFIRE Pad 0B Success[9]
3[citation needed] August 22, 2008 09:10 ALV X-1 Hy-BoLT/SOAREX 6 Pad 0B Failure[10]
4[citation needed] May 19, 2009, 23:55 Minotaur I TacSat-3 Pad 0B Success[citation needed]
5[citation needed] June 30, 2011 03:09 Minotaur I USAF ORS-1 Satellite Pad 0B Success[citation needed]
6[citation needed] April 21, 2013 21:00 Antares Cygnus Mass Simulator Pad 0A Success[11]
7[citation needed] September 7, 2013, 03:27 Minotaur V LADEE mission to Lunar orbit Pad 0B Success[citation needed]
8[citation needed] September 18, 2013 14:58 Antares Cygnus Orb-D1
COTS Demo Mission
Pad 0A Success[12]
9[citation needed] November 19, 2013, 20:15[citation needed] Minotaur I ORS 3, STPSat3 Pad 0B Success
10[citation needed] January 9, 2014 18:07[13][14][15] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-1 Pad 0A Success First Cygnus
ISS re-supply mission
11[citation needed] July 13, 2014 16:52[16] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-2 Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission
12[citation needed] October 28, 2014[17] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-3 Pad 0A Failure[18] Pad damaged by explosion and fire.[8]
Scheduled launches
2016[8] Antares (with new first-stage engine) Cygnus CRS Orb-4 Pad 0A (rebuilt) ISS re-supply mission Planned launch date was previously January 2015, as of June 2014[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0A". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  2. ^ "Launch Tower Demolition". GMB. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  3. ^ a b Kyle, Ed (2011-05-14). "Taurus 2". Space Launch Report. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  4. ^ "Facilities". Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Retrieved 2009-01-21. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Launch Pad 0-B". Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Retrieved 2009-01-21. [dead link]
  6. ^ Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0 HAD". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  7. ^ Botelho, Gerg. "Unmanned NASA-contracted rocket explodes; damage is 'significant'". CNN. Retrieved 2014-10-28. 
  8. ^ a b c Foust, Jeff (2014-11-21). "Virginia May Seek Federal Funds for Wallops Spaceport Repairs". Space News. Retrieved 2014-12-01. 
  9. ^ a b c Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0B". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 2011-12-19. 
  10. ^ Tennant, Diane (22 Aug 2008). "NASA destroys rocket shortly after launch at Wallops Island". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2 November 2014. 
  11. ^ http://www.universetoday.com/101502/antares-maiden-soar-pierces-virginia-sky-and-delivers-nasa-smartphone-pioneer-nanosats-to-orbit/
  12. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Antares launches private mission to space station". Spaceflightnow.com. 
  13. ^ http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/01/orbitals-antares-loft-cygnus-orb-1-mission/
  14. ^ http://www.orbital.com/newsinfo/missionupdates/orb-1/
  15. ^ http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftOrbit.do?id=2014-003A
  16. ^ http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/july/nasa-cargo-launches-to-space-station-aboard-orbital-sciences-resupply-mission/
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ "Teams investigate failure of unmanned rocket off Virginia coast". CNN. 
  19. ^ "Worldwide launch schedule". spaceflightnow.com. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "ISS Calendar". Spaceflight101. Retrieved 21 June 2014. 

External links[edit]