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Old 08-29-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
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Shuttle launch

We're planning a trip to Florida to see the shuttle take off. Does anyone know of a good campground or RV park near Cape Canaveral and a good place to view the launch?
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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We stayed at The Great Outdoors last year.

On a scale of 1-10 the resort is about 9.5 in our opinion. We drove down to 1A1 and RT 50 and paid $10.00 to park. Such a deal!

You can also watch the launch from the golf course at TGO I'm told.

1A1 and RT 50 is not that close but with a good camera I ended up with some pretty decent shots.
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:23 PM   #3
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TGO would be a good but long-way-off place to stay. the closest park to the launch pads is a Brevard County Park called Manatee Hammock CG. Google it. It's shaded which is a rarity in the Titusville area. They accept Passport America during summer months.
If you can't get into Manatee Hammock the camp where you can but to watch the launch go to Sand Point park at the NE corner of Hwy 406 (Garden St) and Indian River Road. It will be on the West side of the Inter Coastal Waterway as yo can't go to the East side at launch time. Really try to be either at Manatee Hammock or Sand Point... the launch is awesome and even better if they launch at night. Take lawn chairs!!
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:43 PM   #4
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I think it is unlikely you will be able to get into Manatee Hammock for either of the final two scheduled launches - of course that could change if the launch dates move.

On July 1 NASA announced the new schedule for the final two shuttle launches (Nov 1 and Feb 26). The following morning I called Manatee to try to get a reservation for the Nov 1 date. The first thing I heard was a recording saying they were booked up for the February launch. Fortunately I was able to get what I was told was the last space they had open for the Nov 1 launch.

Looks like a lot of folks have this on their bucket list...
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Old 08-29-2010, 07:51 PM   #5
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Manatee Hammock stays full when the snowbirds start coming South. That's a lot of the problem with the Feb launch and probably at least contributes to the Nov. date too.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:38 PM   #6
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Jetty Park is very popular for both rocket and shuttle launches. You are right on the beach and can also watch the cruise ships coming in/out of Port Canaveral. There is a Goggle Map on the linked web site that will quickly show you how close to the launch pads you are.
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Old 08-29-2010, 08:42 PM   #7
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You might consider something out of the ordinary like taking a Kayak tour to watch the launch. We came really close to doing that but landed tickets at the NASA visitors center. Wish we had taken the kayaks.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:36 AM   #8
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Wow, I didn't think it would be that busy. We'll start looking farther out and rent a car to get to a viewing area. Guess I better reserve a spot in a viewing area too. Any other advice?
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Old 08-30-2010, 07:30 AM   #9
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I second the Jett Park if you can get in. But, You can see the launch from just about anywhere in Titusville on A1A that enables you to get to or clearly see the shoreline.

We took the MH out to Parrish Park (I think) on 402 (I think) and spent the night there on the side of the road. Might want to check that out or maybe someone on here will confrim what I'm saying.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:55 PM   #10
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Shuttle Launch | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigwheel View Post
Wow, I didn't think it would be that busy. We'll start looking farther out and rent a car to get to a viewing area. Guess I better reserve a spot in a viewing area too. Any other advice?
One thing to consider. KSC Visitor's center sells "tickets" to the launches. They put you on a bus and take you out to a spot to view the launch from. The traffic back and forth to the coast from Orlando is horrific on launch day. My suggestion to motorhoming friends and family that don't have reservations at Jetty or Manatee grove is this. KSC Vistor's center has RV parking available. Make your reservations for their tickets to the launch, drive the motorhome over early (like five or six hours early), take a nap, look around the Visitor's center, eat the appropriate meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) in the RV in the parking lot, then take the bus over and watch the launch. Come back, turn on the generator and the A/C, have a snack, another nap, back to the Visitor's center and then head back after a few hours.

Whether you drive over in a car, or drive over in the RV, it's going to be a long day. Why not have your mobile lounge with you?


Shuttle Launch by Curb Crusher, on Flickr


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Old 08-30-2010, 01:02 PM   #11
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Jetty Park is a pretty good place too. I like along the ICW near 406 because you can see the shuttle on the launch pad and actually see lift off. From Jetty Park you can only see the shuttle AFTER lift off.
I've not had the opportunity to watch a launch from the Space Center itself but I would imagine that would be the best viewing.
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Old 08-30-2010, 01:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CurbCrusher View Post
My suggestion to motorhoming friends and family that don't have reservations at Jetty or Manatee grove is this. KSC Vistor's center has RV parking available. Make your reservations for their tickets to the launch, drive the motorhome over early (like five or six hours early), take a nap, look around the Visitor's center, eat the appropriate meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) in the RV in the parking lot, then take the bus over and watch the launch. Come back, turn on the generator and the A/C, have a snack, another nap, back to the Visitor's center and then head back after a few hours.
That's an excellent suggestion, but...

The demand for access to the KSC Visitor Center to see the last two shuttle launches is so great you have to register for a lottery and win the opportunity to buy tickets. The lottery for the Nov 1 launch was held last week - I didn't win.

Not sure when the lottery registration period will be for the February launch.
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Old 08-31-2010, 09:33 AM   #13
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REWahoo,

Ouch! I was fortunate and got to go watch from the Saturn V center with my daughter and a bunch of Girl Scouts four years ago. At that launch they were still selling tickets that morning at the Visitor's Center. Good luck on the next lottery.

To the OP, if you aren't able to camp where you can watch, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get into position to watch the launch. The roads headed east out of Orlando turn into parking lots in the couple of hours before an launch. It's normally a 45-50 minute drive over to the coast, and I think lots of folks think they are going to leave here at 10:00 and make an 11:00 launch.
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Old 09-06-2010, 01:31 PM   #14
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We stayed at The Great Outdoors. Us and five other couples from our motor home club met up in Arizona from Wa. state and then went to watch the shuttle. We booked two weeks there just in case of any launch delays. The day of the launch we went to Wm. J. Menzo park in downtown Titusville to view. As others have mentioned the traffic afterwards was unbelievable. The April launch was a 6 am launch and several motor homes 'boondocked' in the J.C. Penny's parking lot overnight. It is a must see event! One less iten on my bucket list.
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