With NASA’s Space Shuttle Program nearing an end, there isn’t much time left to witness a space shuttle launch in person. At this writing, the final launches from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., include Space Shuttle Discovery on February 24; Space Shuttle Endeavor on April 19; and Space Shuttle Atlantis on June 28. To arrange to be an eyewitness to one of these thrilling launches, talk with your travel professional as soon as possible, as accommodations near the space center tend to sell out well in advance of a launch.
Â If tickets are not available, there are plenty of public places where you can view a shuttle launch, especially along U.S. Highway 1 in Titusville and State Road A1A in Cocoa Beach. In Titusville, popular spots to for launch-watching include Marina Park, Sand Point Park, and Space View Park; in Cocoa Beach, head for the Cocoa Beach Pier, Alan Shepard Park or Fischer Park. All of these locations have parking (some charge a small fee) and restrooms for public use. Although you will be outside the Space Center, you’ll still be able to see the bright flash and hear the thundering roar of the shuttle’s engines, to say nothing of the excitement of watching the spacecraft lift into the sky.The closest possible viewing area is located within Kennedy Space Center, which makes a limited number of launch-day tickets available in the weeks before a launch. You may be able to purchase a special package that includes a behind-the-scenes tour and even a meet-and-greet with astronauts.
Remember that launch times and dates are subject to change and delays due to unavoidable technical or weather issues: so, it’s best if your plans are somewhat flexible. With a bit of luck, you’ll be able to watch a space shuttle blast off into a wide blue sky on its way to the International Space Station.Â