Just a day away from SpaceX’s first inaugural Falcon Heavy launch attempt on February 6 at 1:30 pm EST, hype for the triple-rocket is reaching a boiling point, and for good reason. Already, there are hints and reports that the launch is likely to draw crowds not seen in several years, likely well over 100,000 people. This means that those still interested in viewing the historic launch but not yet committed may have trouble gaining access to the most popular viewing locations in Florida, but there are still a number of ways to join in on the spectacle.
Launch photographers and committed spaceflight fans are by far the best resources in this regard, and many have decades of experience viewing all kinds of rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Prominent photographer Ben Cooper has created a brief launch viewing guide specific to Falcon Heavy, the size of which means that certain viewing sites are either closed or already sold out. Quoted below, he provides a solid summary of the options still available to fans and travelers alike:
Falcon Heavy / [No Earlier Than] Feb 6 @ 1:30pm (Pad 39A):
1) If you are heading to PLAYALINDA BEACH (3.6 miles at first parking lot, closest possible spot to watch this launch): They plan to remain open, but the park reserves the right to change that, alter traffic patterns, and close beaches/areas when parking lots are filled. The beach opens at 6:00am. GET THERE EARLY AND HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. THEY MAY CLOSE UPON REACHING PARKING CAPACITY. Plan for the possibility of having to walk between one and three miles from where you park if you wish to get closer.
2) The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center (KSCVC) is also selling tickets: Saturn V Center (3.9 miles) tickets are SOLD OUT. Tickets to go to the Visitor Complex itself were still available as of Feb. 1 (7.4 miles; you will see the launch and landing only in the sky; the pads are behind the trees). (They are also selling $35 tickets to watch from a location in Titusville which you otherwise go to for free.)
4) Next best for launch + landings both: Port Canaveral (Rt. 401, 6.9 from landings, 13 from launch) or Jetty Park (6.0 from landings but no view of launch pad). If 401 is filled or no more parking is allowed, fall back to Rt 528/Beeline behind it.
If you’re looking for a far more populated map including public transport, airports, rest stops, nearby amenities, and more, LaunchRats.com has you covered. They also feature a Falcon Heavy viewing guide, but Ben’s above guide is nearly identical. For a full rundown of the above resources and much, much more, Tim “Everyday Astronaut” Dodd has crafted an extremely well-made video walking viewers through all they need to know ahead of attempting to watch rocket launches in Florida, and I highly recommend it if you have ten or so minutes to spare.
As he rightly points out, Falcon Heavy viewing guides effectively work for all launches Florida, albeit minus any rocket landing attempts in the case of NASA or ULA missions. In the case of Falcon Heavy, not one but two of its three first stages will be attempting landings at Landing Zone 1, guaranteed to produce a visual spectacle from several of the aforementioned viewing locations, as well as a symphony of sonic booms (probably six or more) throughout the East coast of Florida. Buckle up, it’s bound to be a moment to remember, one way or another. For those that can’t attend the launch in person, SpaceX will undoubtedly provide their own exceptional live coverage.
Follow along live as launch photographer Tom Cross covers this incredible moment in person, documenting all of the best parts on Teslarati’s Instagram stories. Up next is the release of be a Falcon Heavy launch animation straight from SpaceX.
Tom Cross – Instagram
Eric Ralph – Twitter