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The best place to view a Shuttle launch
Where the best place to view a Shuttle launch is very much open to debate. Much depends on your own personal preferences and everyone we have spoken to on this topic appears to have a different take.
Getting as close as possible seems to be a good starting point and one favoured by an awful lot of people. For launch days NASA issues a limited amount of tickets to enable the public to watch from a causeway within the confines of the Kennedy Space Center that is around seven miles distant from the pad itself. It provides a clear uninterrupted view and is arguably the best spot to take in the complete package of atmosphere, television commentary, sound and launch. The downside here is that tickets sell out in minutes and cost around fifty dollars each.
As an alternative the Kennedy Space Center remains open on launch days, although the bus tours are suspended during the launch sequence. From the main visitor complex there is no clear view of the pad but the sound is amazing and there are excellent views of the shuttle as it arcs into the sky.
There are also a number of off-site viewing areas. The coastline south of the space center near Port Canaveral and, in particular, Jetty Park offers good views across to the launch pad. Cocoa Beach is just a little further away but again provides some brilliant viewing areas especially from the pier. The disadvantage from these locations, which are anything from thirteen to twenty miles away, is that the sound dissipates quickly and becomes little more than a rumble by the time it has travelled such a distance.
Titusville is often thought of as the best off-site location with five miles of uninterrupted viewing along the banks of the Indian River, and is relatively close at around ten miles.
It does get very busy though with all major vantage points taken up early and parking can become a nightmare.
Spaceview Park at the northern end of the city transmits a live broadcast via NASA TV and is a great place from which to watch but you will probably need to get there a good few hours before the scheduled launch time to guarantee a good spot.
Much is down to individual choice, and whether you are prepared to fight it out with the crowds around Titusville or enjoy a more leisurely viewing from Cocoa Beach or Port Canaveral. Do you want to get up close and personal at the Kennedy Space Center or do you try and get hold of that prized ticket for the NASA causeway?
Whichever choice you make this is truly a lifetime event and one you will never forget.
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