Live coverage: NASA satellite to ride air-launched Pegasus to orbit Wednesday night Oct 9

10/09/2019 05:37

The latest official weather forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron continues to predict a 70 percent probability of unfavorable weather for launch this evening.

“A weak surface trough continues to affect the Florida peninsula this morning,” the range weather team wrote in this morning’s forecast. “It will move slowly southward across central Florida today and then off the southern part of the peninsula overnight into Thursday. The atmosphere remains moist and unstable which will result in numerous showers and widely scattered thunderstorms to redevelop during the late morning and afternoon hours.

“Precipitation chances will diminish through the evening but there will still be the possibility of precipitation during the count. The primary concerns for violation are the lightning and cumulus cloud rules.”

Tonight’s 90-minute launch window opens at 9:25 p.m. EDT (0125 GMT). Northrop Grumman’s L-1011 carrier jet is expected to drop the 57-foot-long (17-meter) solid-fueled Pegasus XL rocket around 9:30 p.m. EDT, weather permitting.

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The Northrop Grumman Pegasus XL rocket, carrying NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), has arrived at the Skid Strip at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on Oct. 1, 2019. The rocket is attached beneath the company’s L-1011 Stargazer aircraft. ICON will study the frontier of space – the dynamic zone high in Earth’s atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather above.