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 Post subject: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 4:51 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2947
Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
Anyone live in Florida and know about this?

Would love to experience a launch which is tricky as I don't really want to drive a car on the 'wrong side' of the road. Is it possible to stay somewhere and do it by public transport?

Where's the best viewing area? Is it at Cape Canaveral and take in the Space Museum at the same time?

Might never make it but doesnt hurt to make some enquiries.

thanks Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 5:41 pm 
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Joined: Dec Wed 25, 2013 7:57 am
Posts: 2886
Location: USA
I've seen a few launches...

Seeing a space launch is one of those items that I think should be one of the top items on the "bucket list." By all means do it!
This takes a bit of planning if you're not local:

- Fly into Orlando; rest near the airport overnight. Then go to Cocoa Beach. It's a small town. Hotels get booked up early; reserve a room months in advance
- While in town, get the Kennedy Space Center Tour
- You can see and hear the rocket taking off from the beach. To get the real experience, go to a designated viewing site
- SpaceX is only one of the brands. The U.S. also uses Delta and Atlas rockets. On launch day, you won't care which company built it
- This is important: launches are often delayed due to a variety of reasons; it could be hours to days/weeks/months. So make your plans accordingly
- If you're real lucky, the launch you see will happen at night

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/blog ... ket-launch
http://www.visitspacecoast.com/events/
https://spacecoastlaunches.com/
https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

There's bus and shuttle service between Orlando airport and Cocoa Beach. But I don't know much about the local bus service at Cocoa Beach. It may be better to rent a car anyway. Don't let driving on the right side of the road be a barrier for this experience.

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Last edited by AJJ on Jan Wed 17, 2018 6:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 6:00 pm 
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Joined: Mar Wed 11, 2015 1:46 am
Posts: 1130
Location: Boiling Springs, PA
I would have loved to seen one when they launched Saturn V boosters. Maybe when SpaceX starts launching the heavier boosters.

Driving on the wrong side of the road isnt bad, you just need to practice steering from the passengers seat.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 6:04 pm 
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Joined: Dec Wed 25, 2013 7:57 am
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Until the "big" SpaceX rocket is ready, there's the Delta IV Heavy.

The road from Orlando to Cocoa Beach is a straight shot; should not be too difficult of a drive if you're rested and alert. Talk someone into making the trip with you if it would make it easier.

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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2947
Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
Thanks for such quick and good advice.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 8:42 pm 
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Joined: Jan Tue 31, 2012 1:55 am
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Location: Mountains of Mourne. Ireland.
In 1983 whilst shootin' skip on eleven, I got a very excited running commentary R5+S9 of Challenger's first launch from a guy working in a field on a tractor!

Not only was this in the pre cell-phone, pre pager era, it was undoubtedly one of those occasions where the pictures looked better on the radio.

I can still hear his voice after all these years.


Praise Marconi for SSB... :)
Greg.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Wed 17, 2018 9:35 pm 
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Location: USA
I'm not surprised that you still remember that 1983 contact on ham radio. Perhaps it's like seeing the full solar eclipse in person, being near a rocket launch could be an emotional experience.

There's going to be a night launch tomorrow (18 Jan). Webcast starts at 1932 EDT (0032Z 19 Jan).

http://www.ulalaunch.com/
http://www.visitspacecoast.com/event/ul ... nch/18839/

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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Thu 18, 2018 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Feb Sat 12, 2011 2:29 pm
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Location: Fayette County, Pa
Biggest problem with watching any launch is being flexible. You need to remember things go wrong and launches often are delayed, sometimes only a day or two, but something you need to be aware of. And Florida is not the only place to see them. Orbital Sciences launches the Antares Cygnus rocket from Wallops Island, Va. And the viewing is excellent as there is a public access location only about a mile from the pad. I saw the launch last November of one as a resupply mission to the ISS. (Took two days though, first launch scrubbed due to someone inside the safety zone at sea.)

Next launch is scheduled for May1, subject to change, Complete launch schedules are listed and updated at https://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Fri 19, 2018 10:08 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2947
Location: Nr London, England, SS1 3PT
Thanks for the additional info and great pic. Yes! quite aware that actually seeing the launch you planned for may not come off. Bit like going to see the Aurora or Northern Lights. Went to Norway once and saw 'shows' on two nights :D So would have to go to a launch with contingency time built in. Canaveral maybe better as plenty of other things to do around there.

SpaceX launces are particularly impressive with the Ist stage booster coming right back onto the launch pad. You guys did well in getting Elon: we got J. DeLorean :(

When I started to take an interest in the launches I was amazed at how much stuff was being fired up there: need some super garbage truck to collect some of it soon. When things collide, and it has happened, problem is much worse as there are now even more particles that could damage other sats and the ISS.

Gary


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Fri 19, 2018 11:24 pm 
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Joined: Dec Tue 23, 2014 6:51 pm
Posts: 891
Location: N. Palm Bch, Fl.
If you have an interest in launches and space, You have to go. Even if it's delayed a day. There is so much to see. My 2 daughters (10 & 12 at that time) and I drove up there to see a Shuttle Launch. It didn't go that day. Normal back then. I think they have gotten better at keeping on schedule now. So we went to the Space Museum before heading back. What an experience. We spent most of the day there before heading home. It takes a while because there is so much to take in. When you decide to come, let us know. There are a few members that live in central FL and they could probably help you with ideas and things to see. On the plus side. Your pound goes a lot further than our dollar.

And we speak English here, but not the Kings English.
Freeman.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting to see a SpaceX launch?
PostPosted: Jan Sat 20, 2018 3:24 am 
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Joined: Jan Mon 28, 2013 9:35 pm
Posts: 1134
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
We were very lucky to have lived in Florida during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo
programs. Made it to most launches and something I'd strongly recommend
to anyone that is interested today. The one I'll never forget was the Apollo launch
that was at night. Had a chance to see one shuttle launch too.

NASA has (had?) good tours and I'm sure you can contact them
to find out when and if launches can be viewed by the public.

Back in the '70's one of the better spots was a barrier island. You
could actually see the shock wave ripple across the water. Magic!
Steve

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