Space double-header tonight! You can watch a Cygnus cargo ship and Solar Orbiter launch live online

Update for 5:45 p.m. ET: NASA has scrubbed the launch of Northrop Grumman's Cygnus NG-13 mission to the International Space Station. A new launch window has not yet been announced.

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — There's a space double feature in store for rocket fans today, with two launches to some very different places off Earth. And yes, you'll be able to watch it all live online. 

The action, which NASA has dubbed its "Big Weekend," begins at 5:39 p.m. EST (2239 GMT) with the launch of a Northrop Grumman Antares rocket carrying a commercial Cygnus cargo ship on a delivery mission for NASA. It will lift off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport here at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility carrying more than 7,500 lbs. (3,401 kilograms) of supplies to the International Space Station. 

Less than six hours later, at 11:03 p.m. EST (0403 GMT Feb. 10), a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket will launch the Solar Orbiter — a joint mission by NASA and the European Space Agency — from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. That mission will send a powerful space probe to orbit the sun's poles to understand the origins of space weather that affects the entire solar system. 

Related: Tonight's sunset rocket launch may be visible along US East Coast

You can watch both launches live here and on's homepage, courtesy of NASA TV. The Antares launch webcast will begin at 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT) on NASA TV, though Wallops officials will provide live audio and video via the center's Ustream page beginning at 12:30 p.m. EST (1730 GMT). There's also a chance the launch may be visible along a wide swath of the U.S. East Coast, weather permitting.

The Solar Orbiter launch webcast will begin later at 10:30 p.m. EST (0330 GMT Feb. 10) and show views through the launch. 

"With two launches and a major address by the administrator, NASA has a lot of news coming," the agency wrote in an update. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine will host a "State of NASA" address on Monday (Feb. 10) when the 2021 NASA budget request is announced.

Today's rocket launch double-header is a fluke of launch scheduling. In fact, it wasn't supposed to happen at all. 

In photos: The ESA-NASA Solar Orbiter mission to explore the sun's poles

The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying the Solar Orbiter, a joint mission by the European Space Agency and NASA, stands atop Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida ahead of a planned Feb. 9, 2020 launch. (Image credit: United Launch Alliance)

The Solar Orbiter was originally scheduled to launch on Feb. 5, but an issue with its Atlas V rocket prompted a launch delay. The mission was first pushed to Feb. 7, then ultimately to Feb. 9, while Atlas V engineers worked out the issue. 

Aside from NASA's role in both missions, the two launches do not share any overlapping assets, agency officials have said. 

"With this launch, we do not have any conflicts," Jeff Reddish, NASA's Wallops launch range project manager for Antares, told reporters Saturday. 

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.