Antares Launch Draws Spectators to Gargatha Landing

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket rises over the marshes north of Gargatha Landing Saturday. At this point in the flight, the rocket’s roar had not yet reached spectators there.

Story and Photos by Jim Ritch – 

An Antares rocket carrying 8,300 pounds of scientific experiments and cargo, lifted off from Wallops Island Saturday, Feb. 19, at 12:40 p.m., and shook windows and spectators across Accomack County. The rocket successfully docked with the International Space Station early Monday morning. 

Among the items shaken were the front deck and guests of Jeff Hickman, whose home at Gargatha Landing enjoys a wide view of surrounding marshes and an unobstructed view of the Wallops Island launch pad. 

With the Hickman home located slightly farther away than other viewing locations, the Antares rocket rose higher in the sky before the roar of the rocket shook his deck and the guests on it. 

The experiments aboard the rocket will explore skin deterioration in microgravity, growing plants without soil; testing hardier lithium-ion batteries, and other topics.

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