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Watch A Rocket Lift-Off
Science-Fiction & Space Hub

Your recommended way to see a satellite or a space probe launch--maybe even crewed capsules in the next few years out of Cape Canaveral, FL...

Congratulations to the crew of STS-135 and NASA's team of professionals for a successful launch of Atlantis. 

Launch of Atlantis on 8 Jul 2011
Credit: NASA


Final STS Manned Space Mission Launch

STS-135,  Atlantis (OV-104)

Launch Date:   8 July 2011

Lift-off Time:  11:26a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT)

Weather issues:  40% chance of precipitation and thunderstorms.  Partly cloudy.  

Next exploration or observation civilian missions to be launched from Canaveral AFB:

Juno--polar orbiter probe to study Jupiter's origins, structure, magnetosphere and atmosphere.
*  Rocket:  Atlas V
*  Expected Launch Date:  5 Aug 2011
*  Scheduled Launch Time:  TBA

A Florida Launch Perspective
Spotting a rocket launch in Tampa Bay is a matter of watching the trail up in the sky. An actual launch view may not be really representative of the cool, professional grade photos. This section is all about your getting the most out of seeing a spaceraft launched from the prime position on the Space Coast. The official link to order a ticket to see the launch at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Complex is available in the links section. If you would like to avoid being an honorary member of the Scrub Club and dread a dreary ride back, please read on!

Rocketspotting's key elements:

  • Weather:  We all know Florida is so lovely, except in rainy summertime and the Hurricane Season (1 Jun to 30 Nov).  The weather information posted up above is based on a composite of weather forecasts from the National Weather Service office in Melbourne and the 45th Weather Squadron--NASA's key helper to determine suitable weather for a launch day.  Also, check with the Brevard County Library System reference desk ahead of time.  Make sure to ask for the Farmer's Almanac, since this gives a great indication of the typical Floridian weather conditions that may impact launches at Kennedy Space Center or Cape Canaveral during a particular launch date or even the window.  When watching cable tv weather, give the Space Coast's Channel 13 a try, too.  .
  • Looking from the Outside of KSC:  The weather and systems are a go for the STS (Space Transportation System) launch, but you are so fracked on scoring on a limited amount of tix for the launch!  Be very careful in selecting an alternate viewing site, since law enforcement will ticket you for pulling over on the side of a road like the Challenger Parkway or elsewhere on launch day!  Spots along US 1 near Titusville charge anywhere from $10-20 on launch day.  County and city parks make for other good places, so please get there at least 4 hours ahead of time!  See below for the maps and links for parks within launch viewing distance--thanks to Channel 13 and Brevard County Parks.  Space View Park has the best facilities and even offers a live radio broadcast on launch day.  Check out the separate link--How to Get to Space Park.
  • fathermaptojettypark.gif
    Credit: Mapquest

    Jetty Park from the main road(s) and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Jetty Park, 410 E. Jetty Rd., Port Canaveral

    Credit: Mapquest

    Kennedy Point Park from the main road(s) and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Kennedy Park, 4915 S Washington Avenue, Titusville

    Credit: Mapquest

    Nichol Park from the main roads and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Nichol Park, 6660 N Cocoa Boulevard (US Hwy 1), Port St John

    Credit: Mapquest

    Parrish Park from the main roads and/or highways


    Parrish Park, 1 A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway, Titusville

    Credit: Mapquest

    Rotary Riverfront Park from the main roads and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Rotary Riverfront Park, 4141 S Washington Avenue, Titusville

    Credit: Mapquest

    Sand Point Park from the main roads and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Sand Point Park, 101 N Washington Avenue, Titusville

    Credit: Mapquest

    Tom Statham Park from the main roads and/or highways

    Credit: Mapquest

    Tom Statham Park, 7101 S US Highway 1, Titusville

    Credit: Mapquest

    William J. Manzo Memorial Park from the main roads and/or highways


    William J. Manzo Park, 3335 S Washington Avenue, Titusville

    • Remember the basics:  You found your place, but remember to be prepared!  Be kind to others:  use a blanket, a towel or a low chair.   A pair of binoculars of 7 x 50 and up is just fine to watch a launch.  Eat a full meal ahead of time, then snack as needed on energy/granola/fruit bars and/or fruit--because they won't melt in the sun.  Always practice good sun safety by using sunscreen; wear a boonie, cowboy or a broad brim sun hat; and dress comfortably.  Keep water in a decent cooler for the hot weather--roadside vendors will charge $1 or more per bottle of water.  There will be plenty of wait time--bring any items like books, DVD players, frisbees, wireless laptop PCs, video games, and toys for the kids!!
    • Launch Gear:  Show your support for the space program with clothing or caps on launch day, because it's A.O.K.  A general NASA t-shirt ought to suffice.  Buy your souvenir mission t-shirts or hats later to save money, because it's only a matter of time before these items will go on sale.  If you want to do a spur of the moment purchase on US 1, a CVS or a Walgreen's in Titusville will have the NASA text hats, other space-themed print t-shirts and even the smaller-sized mission patches.  Local roadside vendors on US 1 will charge at $10+ per space mission shirt (2007 price)--usually a white silkscreen print tee. 
    • Travelling About:  A day trip is all right if the launch is after 3:00 p.m. (1500) local time.  Otherwise, save yourself a hassle and stay overnight at a quality hotel room.  Titusville and Cocoa Beach tend to be very expensive during launch times!  Thus, try to stay over in Melbourne to get decent hotel rate.  Check the Welcome to the Space Coast web page for hotel/motel names in this page's links section.  Fors instance, if you leave ahead of time, from Melbourne, the ride along I-95 to your spot is under an hour.  Leaving your spot on launch or scrub day will require patience and expect long delays of 70+ minutesA tip for people traveling to home base Tampa or St. Petersburg:  take US 1 or I-95 south since it will intersect with State Road 520.  S.R. 520 also meets up with S.R. 528/Bee line (toll road) and proceed westbound, but you may still face some traffic slowdowns...

    LRO and LCROSS Launched on 18 Jun 2009
    Credit: NASA

    Photography:  Consult with a professional or an authoritative source(s) on how to make optics and film work the best for you.  If one seeks to capture a launch on film or digital media at a distance, a cheapie camera without a zoom lens equals ruination.  A digital camera of 5x is subpar, but 10-18x works well enough for a general shot. An SLR with a professional-grade large scope is the best.  Take it from this site's keeper, a Hi-8 video camera with x 990 zoom is quite sufficient enough to record a launch from across the river in Titusville!    

    European Space Agency - Spacial Center Guiana

    Any information will be derived from Internet research and is not based on first hand travel experience of this website's main contributor...

    Such Helpful Space Coast Florida Links

    Such Helpful Space Coast Virginia Links

    European Space Agency Launch Site - Guiana

    Gosh dang it, this is serious spacial fun!
    Last Updated on 9 July 2011