Wallops Island (wälˈləps) [key], island, 6 sq mi (15.5 sq km), Accomack co., E Va., off the Atlantic coast of the Delmarva pensinsula S of Chincoteaque island. NASA has a facility there and on the neighboring mainland; the island is one of the oldest rocket launch sites (est. 1945) in the world. Although it is primarily devoted to aircraft flights and sounding rocket and scientific balloon launches, orbital spacecraft launches have been conducted since 1961. Virginia's Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a commercial launch facility built on land leased from NASA, has launched orbital and other spacecraft since 2006.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.