Due to a last-minute software review, the Falcon 9 / Dragon launch has been pushed back to May 19 at 4:55 am. May 22 is also a possibility. Either date should provide time to buy tickets, if you still want to see the launch. Bear in mind that additional delays are possible, however.

There’s a fair but not spectacular selection of  hotels and motels in the “Space Coast” area (Cape Canaveral / Cocoa / Titusville).  There’s a much wider selection around the Orlando/Kissimmee area, and if you’re on a budget, better prices can be found there. Orlando is only about an hour’s drive from the Space Coast, so staying in Orlando is an option you might want to consider, especially if you plan to combine the launch with a trip to Disney.

Do some research ahead of time to decide where you will watch the launch from. Launchphotography.com has an excellent web page on the best viewing sites. We’ve followed ther advice in the past and found it to be excellent. Spaceflight Now is a good site to monitor for weather and launch delays up to and including the day of the launch.

Right now, it does not appear that the NASA Causeway will be open for viewing, as it was for Shuttle launches. The Apollo/Saturn V exhibit at Kenned Space Center is a good viewing site, but the current launch time is more than four hours before the normal Visitors Center opening time of 9:00 am. So, that will not be an option unless the KSC Visitors Center decides to make special arrangements. You can check here for current information on Visitors Center plans for the launch.

Other possible viewing sites are Port Canaveral and Playalinda Beach. Port Canaveral is just over 10 miles from the launch site. Playalinda Beach is just over 6 miles, but there are sightline obstructions. Port Canaveral is the recommended option. The map below shows all three options. Again, the Saturn V exhibit center may not be open on launch day, so please check ahead of time.

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Whichever site you pick, don’t forget to take water, sunscreen, etc. The launch is scheduled for mid-day, so you will need to protect yourself from the sun. Remember that sunburn is possible even on cloudy days.

Written by Astro1 on May 4th, 2012 , Events, SpaceX

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