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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you may know there are currently only 2 shuttle flights left. I want to take my kids to see a launch before there aren't anymore so I was looking at sept 26th for a trip to Florida. I would plan on flying in Friday night, have a fun day at the beach or wherever on Saturday and then watch the launch on Sunday and fly back on Sunday night.

Has anyone here seen a launch? Can you recommend a hotel, stuff to do, tips on where to view the launch from, etc?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Ken,

I have seen a launch, but it wasn't something I had planned because I was on spring break in Daytonna at the time. (And it was a LONG time ago...:)) The point is, I'll be no help on hotels, etc...

I had seen on TV the night before the shuttle was going to launch the next morning and I told one of my buddies I was taking the car and driving up to see it. Nobody else was even remotely interested in seeing the shuttle in place of chasing girls - especially at O-dark-thirty in the morning during spring break!

Nonetheless, I navigated my way to a spot a couple of miles across the water from the launch site (with my tape of Countdown playing - yeah, I'm old!) and settled in for the wait to launch. I really don't remember exactly where I was, but I'm fairly sure I was on Route 1-A. No doubt there is a website somewhere with optimal viewing locations!

To make a very long story short, there were a couple of holds along the way in the countdown until about 9:00 in the morning when it finally lit off.

I can say without a doubt in my mind it was the most awe-inspiring event of my life. First I saw the light of the solid rockets, and they were brighter than the sun. Seconds later I began to hear the sound. Then, most impressively (and keep in mind I was several miles away), the ground began to shake underneath my feet. I felt it in my bones. There is nothing like it.

If you are lucky enough to get there and the launch is not delayed or postponsed too long so you can see it, I guarantee it is something you and the kids will never forget.
 

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Porscheholic
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I would be interested to watch the last launch. There are probably tour packages out there. I'll start doing some research since we have a facility out there and maybe a colleague or two can provide tips.
 

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Ken,

I contacted one of my Senators in Washington and they set me up with passes to see the shuttle launch at the Cape. As I was visiting WDW with the kids and staying in Orlando, it was a relatively quick ride to Cape Canaveral.

I could not agree more with Speedy's assessment. There will be people with telescopes to allow you a close up view of the shuttle. I videotaped an early morning launch ~4 am and it was spectacular. The darkness turned orange as it lifts off the pad and the sound waves come bouncing across the water. You can hear the car alarms going off. The family will never forget it. The shuttle disappears in a matter of minutes. And yes it is faster than a Cayman with Sport Chrono and TPC Turbo !
 

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I haven't seen the launch of the space shuttle in person, though I've seen them sent off un-manned rockets off Cocoa Beach. We were sitting on the beach at night when they lit the fuse and away it went.

I would caution that some times these launches don't always go as planned. If something isn't right (for whatever reason) they will hold or scrub/delay. My friend drove up (from S. FL) to watch the scheduled launch, but had to drive back because they scrubbed the launch for 2 days. They ended up watching the launch from their balcony in S. FL.
It's a fun thing to see in person... though delays happen and there is always a chance of going home empty handed. HTH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes I'm aware there is a chance that missions get delayed but I've got to make some plans. I ran into someone today who I think can help and I'll continue soliciting feedback here. In the meantime for Speedy ...

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology...high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare...
 

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Tennessee Vol
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Ken,
Great call on taking the kids. While there is always a chance of a delay or scrub, that time of year is pretty good (hot with brief afternoon thunderstorms). So a morning launch is usually good to go.
I watch all of them from my home in Palm Beach. Even 130 miles away it is very cool. It is not unusual for an entire bar to clear out to watch a night launch.
I will ask one of my staff who has a brother that is a NASA engineer about good places to stay.
 

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Ken,


I can say without a doubt in my mind it was the most awe-inspiring event of my life. First I saw the light of the solid rockets, and they were brighter than the sun. Seconds later I began to hear the sound. Then, most impressively (and keep in mind I was several miles away), the ground began to shake underneath my feet. I felt it in my bones. There is nothing like it.

If you are lucky enough to get there and the launch is not delayed or postponsed too long so you can see it, I guarantee it is something you and the kids will never forget.
Amen. I saw a launch way back in '92 and I can still remember the ground shaking from a view point about 4 miles away. The power that baby generates is absolutely incredible. :crazy:
 

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Hurricane Region PCA Historian
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In the meantime for Speedy ...

Lit up with anticipation
We arrive at the launching site
The sky is still dark, nearing dawn
On the Florida coastline

Circling choppers slash the night
With roving searchlight beams
This magic day when super-science
Mingles with the bright stuff of dreams

Floodlit in the hazy distance
The star of this unearthly show
Venting vapours, like the breath
Of a sleeping white dragon

Crackling speakers, voices tense
Resume the final count
All systems check, T minus nine
As the sun and the drama start to mount

The air is charged
A humid, motionless mass
The crowds and the cameras,
The cars full of spectators pass
Excitement so thick you could cut it with a knife
Technology...high, on the leading edge of life

The earth beneath us starts to tremble
With the spreading of a low black cloud
A thunderous roar shakes the air
Like the whole world exploding

Scorching blast of golden fire
As it slowly leaves the ground
Tears away with a mighty force
The air is shattered by the awesome sound

Like a pillar of cloud
The smoke lingers high in the air
In fascination
With the eyes of the world
We stare...
Thanks Ken! I've always loved that one - I've been a "Space Nut" pretty much from day one, and a RUSH fan for a long time too.

On a more serious note, I make a point to play this song every year on January 28th, which come to think of it is somewhat appropriate for the coming Memorial Day weekend as well.
 

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Ken,

According to NASA's web page the launch date is the 16th not the 26th

Date: Sept. 16 +
Mission: STS-133
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Launch Time: 11:57 a.m. EDT
STS-133 Description: Space shuttle Discovery will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4), a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MLPM) and critical spare components to the International Space Station.

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html
 

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I'll tell my age now - I've seen three launches - the first three!! I was stationed at Patrick Air Force Base in the early 80s and had the chance to see the first ones. Saw the first launch while having a cookout on the beach with my office. Went to the Cape for the second and third ones! It was, to me, an incredible experience. Wish I could be there for the last ones, but doubt I'll be able to get to FL from Germany for them!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ken,

According to NASA's web page the launch date is the 16th not the 26th

Date: Sept. 16 +
Mission: STS-133
Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Discovery
Launch Site: Kennedy Space Center - Launch Pad 39A
Launch Time: 11:57 a.m. EDT
STS-133 Description: Space shuttle Discovery will deliver the Express Logistics Carrier 4 (ELC4), a Multi-Purpose Logistics Module (MLPM) and critical spare components to the International Space Station.

http://www.nasa.gov/missions/highlights/schedule.html
Thanks, I saw that, they updated the website recently and moved it up 10 days i guess which makes it a bit tougher to go to because it is now during the week.
 

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Porscheholic
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Wish I could be there for the last ones, but doubt I'll be able to get to FL from Germany for them!
Which part of Germany are you at now? My wife is German and her parents live in Dettenhausen outside of Stuttgart. I visit the Porsche or Mercedes Museum whenever we visit.
 

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Porscheholic
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I'm also interested in going... what do you mean by "the last one"? The web page has a 2011 schedule.
Those are not Space Shuttle launches...
 
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