Kennedy Space Center, FL

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Three, Two, One... Blast Off!

Shuttle launch, copyright
Kennedy Space Center

The good news: It's easy to find a spot to watch a Space Shuttle launch. The bad news: It's hard to know when lift-off will actually happen. Don't plan a trip to Central Florida around launch.

The National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA) schedules launches months in advance. Mechanical or weather problems are routine and can delay a mission indefinitely.

If your family is lucky enough to be around when one does take off though, make every effort to get a good viewing spot. Here's how:

  • VIP viewing area. To secure a prime spot here, you have to be a VIP -- or know one. You'll be watching from the closest location, on space center grounds just 3.5 miles from the launch pad.
  • Best public spot. Non-VIPs can watch from NASA Causeway, six miles away; you must book tickets in advance through the space center's Launch Transportation Tickets program.
  • Other vantage points. No tickets? Not to worry. There are some excellent spots along Hwy 1 south of Titusville, and from the beach in the cities of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. While you'll be less than 15 miles from the launch site, all locations are within good eyeshot of the action.

Locals know that smaller, unnamed rocket ships go up all the time. While not nearly as dramatic or visible as a Shuttle launch, they're still good-size spaceships heading for the outer limits.

Continued on page 3:  Behind-the-Scenes Tours


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