103

Basically, the most prominent reason is so that if something happens during launch, it happens over the Atlantic and not someone else. Anything launching over the Gulf of Mexico will probably cross over land a couple of times before going over the Atlantic. As geoffc pointed out in the comments, the Atlantic is a lot wider than the Gulf. Once the rocket has ...


60

Until 1949, the U.S. launched rockets from Wallops Island in Virginia and the White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) in New Mexico. The Rockets launched from Wallops were of American origin while the rockets launched from White Sands were V-2s, supported by a hundred or so German rocket scientists who had been smuggled out of Germany (along with some V-2s) via ...


56

Supplementary answer: Some of the confusion arises because there is also a geographic feature named Cape Canaveral. It's pretty much the green area shown in the other answer, east of the Banana River. On this geographic feature Cape Canaveral is built Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Today's Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is built on Merritt Island. Even ...


30

Cape Canaveral is composed of two items, the Kennedy Space Center, run by NASA, and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base, run by the Air Force. Because they are two very different organizations, the rules are quite different for each. See this map from Wikipedia to show the different locations. Note that Kennedy (NASA) owns launch pad 39a and b, while the rest ...


15

The United States launch sites are the most accessible, both in terms of location (near population centers and accessible) and political environment. Kennedy Space Center in particular is welcoming of visitors, and to a lesser extent Wallops, and you can get into Vandenburg occasionally if you ask nicely. As far as other countries, the major centers are ...


13

The whole operation was supposed to be based in Florida. Houston got mission control because of some pork barrel bill in congress, IIRC.


11

I'm not sure if it'd be exciting enough for you, but I visited Tanegashima with a friend in January 2013. It's a bit of a way off the west end of Japan, but not quite as far as Okinawa. They mostly do satellite launches and tracking. (this qualifies it as an orbital launch site for you, yes?) Once you've made the ferry, hydrofoil or plane trip to get there ...


10

Due to range safety requirements, which preclude launch trajectories that fly over populated areas, the maximum inclination by a standard launch from CCAFS/KSC is approximately 57 degrees. There was one mission, however, that exceeded that. STS-36, a classified shuttle mission, was launched to an inclination of 62 degrees, through the use of a "dog-leg" ...


8

It is certainly possible to visit Kennedy Space Center and see a launch. This link gives viewing sites for KSC, Vandenberg, and Wallops as well as a link to information on purchasing tickets for on-site viewing. Unfortunately, since you wish to see a human spaceflight launch, KSC is not going to fit the bill for quite a while.


7

To revisit this question, it does appear that the during the 1950s & 1960s, a number of extreme inclination and polar launches did indeed take place from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The range safety limitations placed on launches from Florida was only enacted after a number of polar launches had already taken a place (possibly for good reason at the time ...


6

I agree with the other answers that point out that there is no land east of Florida, while there is significant populated land east of Texas. But I think it is work pointing out that Texas has no advantage over Florida in terms of latitude. The southernmost point of Texas is Brownsville (Lat 26 deg N) Which by the way, shares a border with Mexico, with ...


6

If launching into a low-inclination orbit, you want to launch due east from the lowest latitude possible. This gives you the advantage of starting the flight with the speed of the Earth's rotation at your launch latitude; that is "free" speed that the rocket does not need to impart. Furthermore, you want to avoid overflying land masses so malfunctioning ...


6

SLC-40 and 41 are neighbors, no other pads in between. Some debris landed further away than SLC-41. They share some systems, e.g. the deluge system. The only good source I've found is this post by a member of the emergency response team. On Sept. 1, OSIRIS-REx was still in the vertical integration building next to the launch pad. The explosion ...


5

Satellites are finely tuned to work in a specific environment. Space is a tough environment, but usually pretty consistent. One of the things required is to keep the spacecraft at a certain operating temperature at all times, including on the ground and on the rocket. There are a few components that are particularly sensitive, most notably the batteries. ...


5

The storage hangar at Launch Complex 39A at the Cape according theverge.com, can store in total up to five boosters at once. Looking to the SpaceX successful landings, it rises the possibilities to have more consecutive 1st stage landings sooner then they thought. Imagining the time when Falcon Heavy will be operational, then a new storage hangar or an ...


5

Yes you can. I don't want to link the picture here directly because of license you can see what a STS (Space Shuttle) launch looks like from Miami: http://chicagoboyz.net/archives/6433.html Yes, the rockets are different, yes the trajectory is different (No it does not go north east as you said, but south east towards the equator), but this is not enough ...


5

I can see them from the opposite side of Florida with the naked eye given correct atmospheric conditions. So it is possible to have a LoS of about the entire state of Florida, probably further if you are in an open area.


5

The "Master of Space" griffon patch is the 50th Space Wing's emblem. The potential "Marvin" patch is an emblem from the 1st Detachment, 2nd Space Operations Squadron, an element of the 50th Space Wing. The unit had one geographically separated unit, Detachment 1, at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. It was responsible for maintenance of a GPS ...


4

How soon will LC-39A be at significant risk to storm-surge damage? It is currently at risk to storm surge damage, and measures have been and will continue to be taken to mitigate risk. This answer is about engineering of beaches and seawalls, but it's likely that waterproofing of the launch structures themselves has been attended to as well. Hopefully a ...


4

You can read about all the launch complexes at this Air Force Space Museum page: http://afspacemuseum.org/ccafs/ The list is lengthy, but to sum up, as you surmised, some were planned and never built (for example, 7 & 8), others just no longer exist (for example, 44).


2

As many others have stated Florida is a great place to launch rockets because if the rocket suffers an issue during launch debris from it will land in the Atlantic ocean rather than crashing down into inhabited land, possibly damaging property or killing civilians. Another reason that i don't think has been brought up but bears mentioning is that in 1949 ...


2

Besides these other answers, there was a great post-WW2 effort to develop the American South. So the space program was spread between the southern states, e.g, New Mexico, Texas and Florida. So the command centre is in Texas, the launch site in Florida and the landing strips in Florida and New Mexico, among other sites.


2

Based on this document the maximum inclination possible is 37 degrees (from north) and the minimum is 114 degrees (from north). I don't know if how close any mission got to the limits, but most polar launches occur from Vandenberg


2

I just watched a SpaceX launch from Tampa Florida. Used Google Earth to determine the heading to look. Cool clear day and was able to see it just fine. Binoculars helped, but could see it without.


2

You should be able to. Considering that I can see every launch from Palm Beach Cty. clearly, you slould be able to. You said you will be Miami so I reccomend viewing from a beach or where you have an unobstructed view north. I also reccomend a good pair of binoculars.


2

Looking at Zarya, which lists all attempted launches and the orbits of all successful launches, there was never a successful launch from Canaveral to polar orbit. The highest inclination I saw was the Transit 2A, which had a 67 degree inclination. It seems likely the cow killing incident was the Transit 3A, presumably which would have been launched in to a ...


1

I saw the initial Falcon Heavy launch from Juno Beach, Florida and have seen other launches including the Space Shuttle from various locations in Palm Beach County


1

I saw a rocket launch from mississippi once. It just looked like a really bright light in the sky that started to arc over and then shot off, well like a rocket. Lol


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