Rocket launches are a part of the culture here on Florida’s Space Coast. Families and eager space enthusiasts gather along the shorelines; umbrellas, lawn chairs, coolers, and the sound of excitement always set the scene. Photographers gather their gear and fine tune their lenses, moms and dads keep the little ones amused and reminisce about previous historic launches. There is truly a buzz in the salty air when it is nearly and instantly silenced as hundreds of radios come to life. “10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and we have LIFT OFF of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket here at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.” The ground rumbles, the night sky lights up with a brilliant flare, and the focused crowd goes wild with awe and excitement. “They’ve done it again!”, “This never gets old!”, “This is humbling!”, “Simply incredible!” This is Florida’s Space Coast, a rich and amazing tapestry of innovation, exploration, and humbling moments.
When the NASA shuttle program stopped in 2011, the hearts of many space enthusiasts grew empty as they longed for more breathtaking and life-changing moments that they have grown accustomed to experiencing. Only three short years later, in 2014, SpaceX took over one of Kennedy Space Center’s historic launch pads which was the starting point for numerous shuttle missions, a sign that great things were coming for Florida’s Space Coast.
If you haven’t heard much about SpaceX, don’t worry, you will. They signed a 20-year agreement in 2014, so they will be around to wow us all for quite a bit of time. If you have heard about SpaceX, then you know about the excitement that comes with each of these rocket launches. On December 21, 2015, SpaceX was quite the buzz with their successful launch and landing of the Falcon 9. If you didn’t get to experience the excitement yourself, this recap video below will make you eager to catch the next launch.
We know that video made you pumped for the next launch. Here are a couple of things to remember before heading out:
- Charge your camera & iPhone. Trust us, you can never get too many pictures!
- Bring a lawn chair or something to sit on. If we have learned anything from past launches it is that things can get delayed.
- Bring a cooler of snacks. Launches are very popular around town and once you find your perfect spot, you should be prepared to stay for a little bit. Bring snacks and water in the car.
- No spot is a bad spot. There are so many opportunities to see a launch from your favorite beach or park. Some of our favorites are: Exploration Tower, Canaveral National Seashore, Jetty Park, and Rotary Riverfront Park, just to name a few. To see a full list of launch venues and to find one closest to you, click here.
So, now that we have your attention, you probably want to know when you can catch the next SpaceX launch. Coming up in less than a week, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be launching the SES 9 communications satellite from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. You’ll find the important details below.
February 24, 2016 - Launch Window opens at 6:46 pm
If you head out to the launch, be sure to share your pictures with us on social media. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #LaunchFever #SpaceCoast #WeAreGoFL #StillCool.
Additional launch dates and details can be found here.