a VirtualTourist member from Lancaster
I see the shuttle is scheduled to launch August 7. It just so happens that I'll be in Florida at that time. I have heard that it's quite a site to see. Can anyone give me some tips about where to view the shuttle launch, what to plan for (lots of crowds?, where to check status of the launch, etc.)
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Here you go:
I was fortunate to have a special guest pass to see the very first shuttle launch more than 20 years ago. Even as close I was (three miles away; minimum safe viewing distance), it was awesome.
Unless your congressman can get you a VIP pass to get into the Space Center (ask, I don't know if they still offer these or not,) your best view is going to be from the north end of the city of Titusville. The Space Center sits on a barrier island (the Cape) sperated from the mainland by the Indian River. US-1 runs along the shore of the River and Titusville stradles US-1. From Titusville you can see the Verticle Assembly Building and just to the north (left) of that the shuttle launch pads. Find a parking place along the the river front with a clear view of the launch pads. You will be fine. If you are an hour ahead of launch time, traffic and parking will not be an issue. Traffic usually clears out withing 30 minutes or so after a launch (not nearly the crowds that the moon rockets drew.)
Take along a portable radio so that you can listen to radio coverage of the launch. Binoculars and a camera and you are ready. You will be able to see, hear and feel the launch (the air and ground vibrate about 15 seconds after launch,) it is really amazing.
I went to High School in Titusville in the last months of the Appolo program and lived in Orlando for about 15 years.
I saw my first shuttle landing last Christmas time. The landing is fast and quiet.
Thanks for the great input. I'd planned on getting there two hours before the launch. Glad to hear you think this will be enough time. Great tip about the binoculars and portable radio. Do you know what station they'll broadcast on?