I’ve had a rocket launch on my to do list for many years. Originally, it was a Space Shuttle launch that was on the list, but since they retired, any launch would do! Thankfully Space X and the United Launch Alliance continue operations sending cargo to space. As an engineer, I did lots of analysis (too much) to find a great place to watch the Perseverance Rover launch for Mars 2020. What I concluded is: Rockets go UP, Florida is FLAT. Let me explain…
Where is the best viewing?
This is the question of course, where should I watch the launch from? After watching the above video, I’m sure you understand my research but may not understand my final location. Since the launch was so close to sunrise, I wanted to avoid looking right into the sun during the launch…of course I forgot: Rockets go UP, Florida is FLAT. Does that make sense yet?
I realized after the launch, that I could have gone pretty much anywhere on the space coast of Florida and seen a great launch. Even if I had been looking directly into the morning sunrise! Rockets ascend at such a high rate of acceleration that they clear ground obstructions in seconds. If you are within 15 miles of the launch you’ll have a great view seconds after ignition.
Experience always makes the next effort better, and next time, I’ll go to one of two places: Playalinda Beach or stay at my hotel in Cocoa Beach. Why Playalinda? It is super close making it great for launches, and will be epic for the upcoming SLS! Why stay in Cocoa Beach? You should know: Rockets go UP, Florida is FLAT!
Since the launch went off on time, we’ll be heading to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor complex next. It is similar to the Johnson Space Center that I visited earlier this year (pre-covid) but a unique experience.