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I know some busy people in Florida who I'd like to encourage to take a break and go watch a launch.

They aren't "space people" and won't be keeping up on technical blogs or NASA or industry websites.

Are there good on-line resources written for the general public that address

  1. checking out launch schedules
  2. picking a good launch
  3. where to go, and to park
  4. where to eat
  5. typical delays and traffic

for a first-time visitor by car to Cape Canaveral wanting to watch a launch?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about actually going on base or just watching from any public space? Those are different orders of magnitude in effort. $\endgroup$ – cms Jun 13 at 18:42
  • $\begingroup$ @cms I hadn't thought that far without any information or experience, luckily your answer nicely covers both, thank you! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 13 at 23:07
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There are two options for viewing a launch from Cape Canaveral: Pay to enter Kennedy Space Center (KSC), or watch the launch for free from a public space. The above choice will dictate what information you need to be aware of.

1) From KSC:

KSC long ago monetized launch viewing. Here is the link to their page with a thorough description of everything you need to know in order to view the launch:

How to watch a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center

Pros of going to KSC:

  • Closest possible viewing for the general public
  • Get to see all the other cool stuff at KSC (the museum is top notch)

Cons include:

  • Costs money.
  • Very crowded during summer season (and especially launch days)
  • All day event
  • Launch could get scrubbed

2) From a public space outside of KSC:

You can see the vehicle climb, see the exhaust and hear the boom from just about anywhere in north Brevard county. The list of public places you can go that you can see the pad is much smaller. Here is an excellent list of places to go (not all of them can see pad 39A however):

List of convenient public viewing places outside of KSC

The only two places I know you can see (with binoculars) the vehicle on the ground is:

Pros of watching from a public space:

  • Quick; can just 'show up'.
  • Cheap
  • Only option for night launches.
  • Lots of options, many near restaurants and other conveniences.

Cons for public spaces:

  • Only a few places the liftoff isn't obscured by trees or buildings.
  • need binoculars to really enjoy it.
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  • $\begingroup$ This sums it up very nicely. $\endgroup$ – Everyday Astronaut Jun 13 at 20:09
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you very much for all the links! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 13 at 23:04
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The following video was quite well-received:

Though I guess it's not “written“, as asked, but that might be more of an advantage in terms of motivation.

This addresses points 3-5. As for points 1-2, I can recommend the app “Space Launch Now“, which is always up to date and provides good supplementary information.

I hope your friends aren't discouraged by scrubs too badly. It's definitely worth the effort to keep showing up!

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    $\begingroup$ I've asked for "...good on-line resources written for the general public..." and so a link to a 16 minute video unfortunately does not qualify by itself. It's really hard to skim a video, while skimming something written is easy, and can be aided by a search function in the browser. Is there a transcript of this video available somewhere? If not, could you transcribe a few key points to text in your answer here? Thanks! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 8 at 5:13
  • $\begingroup$ @uhoh I might do that after the FH launch or if it gets scrubbed. Pretty busy at the moment. Sorry I can't help immediately. $\endgroup$ – Everyday Astronaut Apr 8 at 5:21
  • $\begingroup$ still looking forward to an answer. If you have a text copy of the closed captions, even that would be good. "Watch this video" is really a comment, not a proper Stack Exchange answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 18 at 14:49
  • $\begingroup$ -1 for proposing to "go watch my monetized YouTube channel" as a Stack Exchange answer. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 29 at 2:59
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, feel really bad for this. Downvote deserved. Will comply as soon as I have some quiet free time without any other urgent thought on my mind. $\endgroup$ – Everyday Astronaut May 13 at 13:57

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