(photo by NASA)
The penultimate Space Shuttle mission, STS-134, is scheduled to launch on April 19th. This mission will be led by Commander Mark Kelly, husband of Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords.
Have you ever wanted to watch one of these launches? I asked my friend Andy, who knows somebody who knows somebody at NASA who gave us some tips. Here's what he had to say:
Go to Florida and stand on the side of the road w/ 300, 000 other people :)
Not much I can do personally. To get to the causeway or on-site, one person of the group must be a NASA badged employee. There is currently a employee lottery to get one of these passes. Thousands of folks actually park on the sides of roads 12+ miles away. Basically, if you stand somewhere that blocks your view of the pad, you can still see the shuttle go up after it clears the trees blocking your view.
Also, the NASA visitor center offers tickets for busses, but they are not cheap and are only good for one launch attempt (I think). I would guess they are sold out already but it may be worth a look. Also the NASA web site has lots of suggestions (www.nasa.gov).
Things to ponder.
Also, if anyone plans to go and stay in the Titusville – Cocoa Beach area, reserve your room now. If they stay in Orlando, the trip back will be bumper to bumper for 45+ miles.
- No one is closer than 3.5 miles away. I think that is where the VIP viewing stands are.
- The employee turning basin is about 4 miles away.
- The employee causeway viewing is about 5 miles away (where we were when we saw STS128).
- Areas outside KSC fence are probably 10+ miles.
- Jetty park is a good close viewing area but you cannot see the pad.
- Many folks simply park on A1A (hwy 528) in the Cocoa Beach area.
- Probably more folks park along hwy 1 near Titusville.
- There may be closer places that I am not aware of.
- There are NO restrooms on the road side and people start “camping” many hours early for that “right spot”.
So, are you game? See you in Florida!
Click on the thumbnail for a spectacular photo!