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Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

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Kissimmee Florida
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for Kissimmee
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Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Shuttle launch trip report:

Discovery May 31, 2008:

There are only ten shuttle launches scheduled for the remainder of the shuttle program. After watching shuttle launches since the inception of the program from the roof of the building where I worked or my back yard I decided that once before the program ended I should go see one up close and personal. I left Kissimmee around 12:45 PM for a 5:02 PM launch. I arrived at Space View Park in Titusville around 2:00 PM, three hours before launch. The parking lot was almost full and many of the best viewing spaces were already taken. I did, however, get an excellent spot, but I did not have enough room put out the beach chair or tripod I brought with me. I will upload the photos and you can see for yourself the quality of the location I was able to get. Had I arrived fifteen minutes later, I would not have been so lucky. I did not encounter any traffic on the way to Titusville, but I would still recommend planning on arriving earlier than three hours before scheduled launch time for the best viewing.

There is a Burger King and a Kentucky Fried Chicken adjacent to the park and some of the local civic organizations had food vending tents set up in the park so once you find your spot, one person can guard it while the rest of the party goes for food. It is a long wait. It did rain not long after I arrived, but fortunately I was in the Burger King at the time. Do not forget your sunscreen or your hat!

Many people who have witnessed the launches have complained about the traffic. Yes, there was traffic and lots of it on the return. I dallied about three quarters of an hour before departing and even then delayed my leaving so I could take pictures of a nest of ospreys on a power pole over looking the parking lot. I hit stop and go traffic all the way to I-95. Once on I-95 southbound the traffic was light and stayed light until I hit 701 where it plugged right up. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed on I-95 all the way to 192 and come back that way, but 192 could have been as messed up as 528 turned out to be. It took two and a half hours to make the drive I made in one and a quarter hours in the other direction.

Having done this once, I am glad I did, but I doubt I would do it again. It was as beautiful as I expected it to be, but I expected it to be louder. I guess where I watched from was about ten miles from the launch site and the sound of the launch took almost a minute to reach us. At that point it was almost an afterthought and certainly not as impressive as I had hoped it would be.

So, for those of you who have witnessed the launch from a balcony or a rooftop in Orlando, do not feel deprived that you have not witnessed it from the other side of the Intracoastal. Perhaps seeing it from on property at KSC would be better, but lacking that, this was fun, but not worth doing twice.

CTR

Tampa FL
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1. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Thanks for the report Cruiser. I have only made 2 launches "in person." Apollo 11, me and 4 million others. I was in a parking lot at Port Canaveral. And a Shuttle launch 20 years ago from the side of the road in Mims.

Today, as I have often done, watched from my back yard. Got a good view here on the east side of Tampa. Went back in the house and watched NASA Channel for the next 15 minutes or so.

Joe

Tampa FL

Orlando, Florida
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2. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Thanks for the report Cruisin. I feel better now as I was feeling a little guilty that I've lived here so long and never went to KSC to see a launch.

Oxford, United...
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3. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

we went to one a few years ago and had the same experience of crowd levels and traffic etc. I don`t think I would do it again although the launch we saw was just before mid night and spectacular because it was dark.

Cheshire, England
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4. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Thanks or taking the time to report back Ctr. I look forward to the pics. Sorry the whole experience didn't live upto your expectations.

Maybe the long wait, allows you to build up to much expectation.

Would still love to witness a live launch though!

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Horses for courses, I guess!

We were only a block away from CTR -- and we had a great time -- the view from Titusville is awesome (11 miles from the launch pad) -- and we got fantastic pics.

We're planning to go back in August for the next one.

Kissimmee Florida
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6. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Sunshine 817,

I definitely recommend Space View Park or somewhere in that neighborhood for the best view of the launch. The view was beautiful. My only real disappointment was that I expected it to be louder.

As you can see in my pictures, in spite of the haze, you can clearly see the shuttle with the tail sticking out to the right. That shot simply is not available much further north or south. It is certainly not available from Jetty Park.

I think if I had a longer lens, the picture would have been clearer, but there is no doubt as to what it is.

I am glad I did it and I will make a point to watch future launches from where ever I happen to be. I just don't think I will make the trek to the coast again.

CTR

Orlando
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7. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

Very nice pics cruising....

I was THIS close once to seeing one once...we were at Tingly's Fish Camp getting bait so decided to wait it out....that particular launch was scrubbed with 3 seconds to go...bummer. I've never made it back over.

I think I'll try for the August launch.

Thanks for sharing!

8. Re: Trip Report Shutle Launch Discovery

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