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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 Virginia, 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 is actively under construction and is projected to be finished in Fall, 2019.

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 Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems 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 October 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] By May 2015, that estimate had been revised down to US$13 million and repairs were expected to be completed by September or October 2015 with the next planned launch in March 2016.[9] On September 30, 2015, the spaceport announced repairs on pad 0A had been completed.[10]

In October 2018, Rocket Lab announced that it had selected Mid-Atlantic as its second launch site called, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2. The company said that it will build a new launch pad near pad 0A, with the first launch scheduled for the third quarter of 2019.[11] The new launch complex will also have an integration facility.[12]

Launch historyEdit

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.[13]

Launch Date (UTC) Vehicle Payload Launch pad Result Remarks
1 16 December 2006, 12:00 Minotaur I TacSat-2 / GeneSat-1 Pad 0B Success[13]
2 24 April 2007, 06:48 Minotaur I NFIRE Pad 0B Success[13]
3 22 August 2008, 09:10 ALV X-1 Hy-BoLT/SOAREX 6 Pad 0B Failure[14]
4 19 May 2009, 23:55 Minotaur I TacSat-3 Pad 0B Success
5 30 June 2011, 03:09 Minotaur I USAF ORS-1 Satellite Pad 0B Success
6 21 April 2013, 21:00 Antares Cygnus Mass Simulator Pad 0A Success[15]
7 7 September 2013, 03:27 Minotaur V LADEE mission to Lunar orbit Pad 0B Success
8 18 September 2013, 14:58 Antares Cygnus Orb-D1
COTS Demo Mission
Pad 0A Success[16]
9 19 November 2013, 20:15 Minotaur I ORS 3, STPSat3 Pad 0B Success
10 9 January 2014, 18:07[17][18][19] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-1 Pad 0A Success First Cygnus
ISS re-supply mission
11 13 July 2014, 16:52[20] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-2 Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission
12 28 October 2014, 22:22[21] Antares Cygnus CRS Orb-3 Pad 0A Failure[22] Pad damaged by explosion and fire.
13 17 October 2016, 23:45 [23] Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-5 Pad 0A (rebuilt) Success ISS re-supply mission
14 12 November 2017, 12:19 Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-8E Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission
15 21 May 2018, 08:44 Antares 230 Cygnus CRS OA-9E Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission
16 17 November 2018, 09:01 Antares 230 Cygnus NG-10 Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission
17 17 April 2019, 16:46 Antares 230 Cygnus NG-11 Pad 0A Success ISS re-supply mission

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0A". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  2. ^ "Launch Tower Demolition". GMB. Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. 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. Archived from the original on October 16, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  5. ^ "Launch Pad 0-B" (PDF). Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 4, 2008. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  6. ^ Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0 HAD". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-01-21.
  7. ^ Botelho, Gerg. "Unmanned NASA-contracted rocket explodes; damage is 'significant'". CNN. Retrieved 2014-10-28.
  8. ^ Foust, Jeff (2014-11-21). "Virginia May Seek Federal Funds for Wallops Spaceport Repairs". Space News. Retrieved 2014-12-01.
  9. ^ Leone, Dan (May 15, 2015). "With $2 Million Left on Wallops Repair Bill, NASA and Virginia Look to Orbital ATK To Dig Deeper". Space News. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "Completion Of Repairs at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Launch Pad 0A". September 30, 2015.
  11. ^ Malik, Tariq (17 October 2018). "Rocket Lab Picks Virginia Spaceport As US Launch Site for Small Satellites". Space.como. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Rocket Lab | Our Launch Sites". Rocket Lab. Retrieved 2018-12-30.
  13. ^ a b c Wade, Mark. "Wallops Island LA0B". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 2011-11-15. Retrieved 2011-12-19.
  14. ^ Tennant, Diane (22 Aug 2008). "NASA destroys rocket shortly after launch at Wallops Island". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved 2 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Antares Maiden Soar Pierces Virginia Sky and delivers NASA SmartPhone Pioneer Nanosats to Orbit - Universe Today". 24 April 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  16. ^ Clark, Stephen. "Antares launches private mission to space station".[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "ORB-1: Antares successfully launches Cygnus en route to ISS –". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Northrop Grumman Corporation". Northrop Grumman. Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  19. ^
  20. ^ Beutel, Allard (3 April 2015). "NASA Cargo Launches to Station Aboard Orbital Resupply Mission". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Antares Launch Postponed to Oct. 28 – Orbital ATK". Retrieved 12 September 2018.
  22. ^ "Teams investigate failure of unmanned rocket off Virginia coast". CNN.
  23. ^ Beutel, Allard (17 October 2016). "Orbital ATK Launches NASA Resupply Mission to Space Station". Retrieved 12 September 2018.

External linksEdit