Space Shuttle Atlantis - March 16th 2007

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UK-RV

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Hi Guys

We were planning to leave Florida and head north a little way for the month of March, ready to leave the RV at the Jacksonville docks for 2nd week in April.

However, Ive noticed there is a Space Shuttle launch "scheduled" for March 16th 2007.

As the shuttles are being retired soon, this will be our only chance to see a launch so we think it will be worth it to reschedule a little bit.

1) Do you guys that follow these things think it worth booking a CG in the hope that it will launch on/around the 16th ?

2) Where is going to be the best place to view - which allows us to prebook a site (which are probably all booked by now anyway LOL)

Thanks !!

Paul
 

Ned

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Some of the TGO folks will have suggestions for camping, but shuttle launches are often delayed, sometimes for days, so don't count on it being on schedule.
 

UK-RV

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Sorry Ned, my mistake.

I should have said we would book in somewhere for a couple of days before and upto a week after - do you think this would cover it ?

Paul
 

Jim Dick

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Paul,

Shuttle launches almost never take off on time. If you are in FL now there is one scheduled for launch on Thursday. We have found the best place to watch is along Rt. 1 in Titusville. Get there fairly early to find a place to park. This is a night launch and they are really worth seeing. Another spot to watch is on the causeway to the National Seashore. That is Rt. 406. Just over the Indian River there is a park and you have a pretty good view of the launch pad. It's still about 10 miles away! We took our coach over there for a night launch and parked for the night. It was nice not having to fight the traffic after the launch. Again, not a lot of room considering the hundreds that want to be there. We're helping at a food tent for this launch because our Navy League group was asked to help out. That should get us a prime spot to watch this launch.

As far as campgrounds go I would say TGO would be a good bet but reserve early. I'd offer our spot but we'll most likely still be here at that time.
 

UK-RV

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Thanks Jim

Can you see the launch from any of the CGs or do you have to drive out ?

Ive seen these CGs and wonder if you can see from any of these ?

http://www.campingspacecoast.com/rv_tent/manatee.htm#RATES

http://www.seasonsinthesunrvresort.com/rates.html

http://www.tgoresort.com/ - I think this is where you're at?

I did read of a farmer/landowner who sells spaces on his field which have a good view - any idea on that one ?

Thanks
Paul

PS I appreciate the view will be something from 10 miles out - especially at night - but anything closer (allowing for the increased security) ?

 

UK-RV

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Ive just noticed these tickets available from the Visitor Center - HERE

They give the full Visitor Center Tour (normally $35) and then a bus to a viewing area (HERE), which is 6 miles from the Launch Pad.

Cost is $51 each ($35 Visitor Center & $16 bus)

Anyone tried it before or think it worthwhile.

Thanks
Paul


 

BruceinFL

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UK-RV said:
Ive just noticed these tickets available from the Visitor Center - HERE

They give the full Visitor Center Tour (normally $35) and then a bus to a viewing area (HERE), which is 6 miles from the Launch Pad.

Cost is $51 each ($35 Visitor Center & $16 bus)

Anyone tried it before or think it worthwhile.

Thanks
Paul

That's a great spot. Close to where all the big mucky mucks see the launch. Think I'll try it myself.  ;D  There are free spots with good views, but you have to get there early, etc. and if the launch is delayed try it all over again. Buying the ticl\ket will avoid the hassle and you also get into the Visitor Center which is a neat place.
 

Jim Dick

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Paul,

Manatee is on the river and you should be able to  see the launch though you will be below the access to the visitors center and most likely won't see the shuttle until it's off the pad. Seasons in the Sun is in Mims and much further away. Not a good viewing area. TGO is about 4 miles from the Indian River and you won't see anything until it is off the pad. The best place is on the Indian River anywhere from  Rt. 406 to just south of Rt. 50. Right near 406 is Veteran's Park which is an excellent spot. Last year they had a live broadcast of the countdown so one could tell if it was on time or not. One of the big problems is they postpone for any little anomaly and you won't know it. No matter what problems might occur it is definitely worth attending a launch, especially a night launch.

One thing to keep in mind is the traffic in Titusville increases about 100 fold for a launch. Get there early to ensure a spot to park and a place to watch it. 

We just found out last night at the Navy League Christmas party that we have to be at the KSC visitor's center by 2:00pm on Thursday to help with the food vending. The launch is 9:38pm!! That's going to be a very long day. We won't see it as well as from the river and probably won't get off the island until midnight!!!
 

Jim Dick

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UK-RV said:
Ive just noticed these tickets available from the Visitor Center - HERE

They give the full Visitor Center Tour (normally $35) and then a bus to a viewing area (HERE), which is 6 miles from the Launch Pad.

Cost is $51 each ($35 Visitor Center & $16 bus)

Anyone tried it before or think it worthwhile.

Thanks
Paul

Paul,

You can't get any closer than that!!!!
 

Ned

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Jim Dick said:
One of the big problems is they postpone for any little anomaly and you won't know it.

On advantage of being in an RV is you can watch the NASA channel on your satellite TV and see the actual countdown while waiting for the launch.  For those of us 3000 miles away, it's the only way we can see a launch :)  With the excellent cameras, we get to see more detail than you folks 4 miles away, but we don't get the earthquake and noise.
 

Ned

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Mike, thanks for the reminder that if you have internet access, preferably broadband, you can watch NASATV for the launches too.  I did that before we got the NASA channel.
 

Jim Dick

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Ned,

If we weren't helping out with the food services I'd seriously consider drivng the coach over to the causeway to the seashore. Park there overnight, watch the countdown on NASA tv and then step out and view the launch. We did that about 4 years ago.
 

Ken & Sheila

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We haven't seen a shuttle laucnch since dry camping on the Indian River in March 06. Parked the MH on the grass facing the river. We did have to pay the lot owning $15. We went to bed and got up a 2:30 to make coffee and get ready for the launch. It wa cold and a lot of people were camping out in the cars. The launch was a little after 3am as I remember.

Sheila and I sat warm in our coach drinking coffee in the front seat until just before the launch. Great sight to see.

Hopefully in a couiple of years will get a chance to go back.

ken
 

Jim Dick

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Ken,

You better hurry back. They won't be flying too many more years. Mission was scrubbed at the very last minute. They didn't tell us there was nothing to eat at the Hall of Fame. We got there around 3:30 and got home around 10:00! They chose not to go last night which I think was a mistake. It was a pretty clear night with no wind. Now they say it might be stormy tonight and may not fly again!
 

BernieD

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Jim

I believe I heard that the mission was scrubbed because of bad weather at all of the emergency landing sites.
 

Jeff

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It seems hard to believe it has been that long but we were on our way to Florida with our three kids and a Rotary Exchange student from Australia in April, 2001. The shuttle was scheduled for launch on Saturday morning and we were going to miss it as we left Illinois after work Friday. When we heard the launch was postponed 24 hours we headed south in a hurry and pulled up on an overpass on I-95 opposite the Cape, climbed up on the roof and listened to the last 5 minutes of the countdown.

I will never forget the sound as the solid boosters added to the main engines snapped, crackled, and popped during those first couple of minutes of the ascent. We must have been 10-15 miles away but it seemed like we were a few thousand feet!

A sight we will all remember forever.

 

Ken & Sheila

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Jim,

Fall 2009 is probably the earliest we'll get to Florida.

Are you two still planning on coming west next winter?

ken


 

Jim Dick

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Bernie,

There was a concern for the landing area in Spain. However they had predicted bad weather at KSC as well. Turns out it wasn't. Discovery lifted off last night without a hitch. Another spectacular display of pirotechnics unmatched by anything else!! It will be a sad day when we can no longer watch such an event.  The next generation of shuttles may be horizontally launched which will eliminate the spectacular event we have today.

We saw a mockup of the new engine at Huntsville. We were told it now costs $10,000/lb to put a payload into space. The new generation shuttle will only cost $1,000/lb. Quite a savings!
 

Jim Dick

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Jeff,

You were probably very close to our exit off I95! There's certainly nothing I can think of that rivals that spectacle!
 

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