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View Full Version : Has anyone seen a Shuttle launch



Ditchkid
2007-Aug-07, 10:20 PM
I'm in Tampa on business and am thinking of a side trip to see the launch tomorrow. Any advice on good places to view the launch?

schlaugh
2007-Aug-07, 10:52 PM
In all seriousness, just keep going East on the Beeline Highway and its extensions until the traffic stops or the cops won't let you go any further. Just like any public event, the earlier you arrive, the better your viewing spot. Viewing will be quite good anywhere within 10 - 15 miles of KSC.

This may offer some more pointers on where to go if you can get there early enough:

http://www.sworld.com.au/steven/space/shuttle/guide.txt

Have fun! I was lucky to live in Melbourne when STS-1 launched and saw a few more after that (plus one I'd rather forget).

EvilEye
2007-Aug-08, 12:30 AM
Never been to the coast to watch, but I can see them fine from my home in Mount Dora.

The night launches are spectacular!

I still remember the very (second-shuttle) first launch... of Columbia back in 81.

I was a little kid sitting in our back yard on the picnic table. It was the very first time I ever cared about what was up there.

Any younguns remember the name of the first Shuttle to fly?

schlaugh
2007-Aug-08, 12:39 AM
Should have stated the semi-obvious - if you get stuck in Tampa the launch should also be visible from there but low on the horizon, If you can get on the top floor of a building with an eastern view then so much the better. And clouds permitting, of course.

schlaugh
2007-Aug-08, 12:43 AM
Any younguns remember the name of the first Shuttle to fly?

Bonus points: and where is it now?

cjl
2007-Aug-08, 05:38 AM
Well, the first shuttle to fly was the one that currently resides in the smithsonian, which is the Enterprise.

Then again, that isn't really a functional one...

EvilEye
2007-Aug-08, 03:38 PM
Very good cjl!

I asked 50 people on another site, and not one of them came up with it (very sad)... without looking it up on the internet.

and 25 of those people didn't even know that Columbia was the first shuttle into space. They only remember it coming apart on return.

danscope
2007-Aug-08, 05:38 PM
I'm in Tampa on business and am thinking of a side trip to see the launch tomorrow. Any advice on good places to view the launch?

Hi, Getting close is a thrill!!!!! Trust me, seeing on TV is one thing.
Being there and being close to the S O U N D is quite the experience.
The sky will crackle with a sound you shall never forget. The lift off will be quiet and look like a HUGE Bonfire...very bright orange..and then the first sounds will start arriving as it rises and begins accelerating with authority. It is an experience like no other. And no one will be drowning out the thunder with some stupid misic. This is rockets ...in a big way!
Get there. Be patient. Be on time. Enjoy.
PS: I used to be stationed at Cape Kennedy and lived in Cocoa Beach.
Best regards, Dan

Tucson_Tim
2007-Aug-08, 05:40 PM
Well, the first shuttle to fly was the one that currently resides in the smithsonian, which is the Enterprise.

Then again, that isn't really a functional one...

Yep. And, unless it's an urban myth, the name came from a mail campaign to NASA from Star Trek fans, who were eventually bummed-out when they found out it wouldn't go into space. :)

schlaugh
2007-Aug-08, 06:04 PM
True - it was a write-in campaign.

http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/resources/orbiters/enterprise.html


Background Enterprise, the first Space Shuttle Orbiter, was originally to be named Constitution (in honor of the U.S. Constitution's Bicentennial). However, viewers of the popular TV Science Fiction show Star Trek started a write-in campaign urging the White House to select the name Enterprise. Designated, OV-101, the vehicle was rolled out of Rockwell's Air Force Plant 42, Site 1 Palmdale California assembly facility on Sept. 17, 1976. On Jan. 31, 1977, it was transported 36 miles overland from Rockwell's assembly facility to NASA's Dryden Flight Research Facility at Edwards Air Force Base for the approach and landing test program.

schlaugh
2007-Aug-08, 06:22 PM
Being there and being close to the S O U N D is quite the experience. The sky will crackle with a sound you shall never forget. The lift off will be quiet and look like a HUGE Bonfire...very bright orange..and then the first sounds will start arriving as it rises and begins accelerating with authority.

OK, I gotta brag and take the thread on a slight albeit related diversion.

When I was 15 I went with my church youth group to KSC to see Apollo 13. We had passes that allowed us to watch from viewing stands on the launch complex. My guess is we were 5 to 6 miles away and I recall a body of water between us and the pad.

The first stage ignited and we saw the stack sloooowly start to rise, and then steadily pick up speed and arc over. Soon after I noticed the water seemed to be rippling and dancing.

The stands began to vibrate as if an earthquake was rumbling underneath.

Then the sound hit my chest like a big open hand thumping me several times a second, and the roar filled the air and we had to yell to be heard -- and we were miles and miles away!

That Saturn V was something else.

http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a13/ap13-KSC-70PC-178.jpg

Larry Jacks
2007-Aug-08, 07:16 PM
When I was 15 I went with my church youth group to KSC to see Apollo 13. We had passes that allowed us to watch from viewing stands on the launch complex. My guess is we were 5 to 6 miles away and I recall a body of water between us and the pad.

I'm jealous. All I ever got to see was a Saturn V first stage static test at MSFC back in 1966 or 67. It was very impressive. A friend of mine can top your story, though. He was in the VIP stands to watch the launch of Apollo 17. That was the only Saturn V night launch.

I've only seen one actual launch in person. That was a Delta II out of Vandenberg last December. The thing that impressed me the most was the sensation of acceleration and velocity. When you watch a launch on TV, the camera usually stays on the vehicle so you don't get the same sensation of speed.

ngc3314
2007-Aug-08, 07:33 PM
While people are being obnoxious about personal history, I'll jump in with two pictures - one when I was 13 and one at age 39. (Plus I did watch IRAS go up while living in Tucson - a neighbor gave me a very odd look as I beckoned them into the middle of the street to watch). The second is STS-82, where you can see the tail of the shuttle illuminated by the SRB exhaust.

Graybeard6
2007-Aug-08, 09:15 PM
I read DitchKid's post to late to give him advice, but I have some for the other posters.
1. They changed the name of the Bee Line; the signs now read "SR528" or "Beachline".
2. It was "Cape Kennedy" for a few years, but reverted to it'sw original name. It's now "Kennedy Space Center" and the launch pads are not on Cape Canaveral, but Merritt Island.
3. Any place in central Florida gives a good view, but you need to get close to get the sound.

EvilEye
2007-Aug-09, 04:15 AM
....more trivia....

Meritt Island Is the name of the city - which is an island... but at least a couple launch pad are actually located on "Banana Island'... though you won't find it that way.

Kind of Like Disney being in "Orlando" when it is really in Lake Buena Vista... and TRULY partially in Orange County and part in Osceola County (Kissimee).

Orlando is nowhere NEAR Disney if you live there.

cjl
2007-Aug-09, 05:21 AM
Very good cjl!

I asked 50 people on another site, and not one of them came up with it (very sad)... without looking it up on the internet.

and 25 of those people didn't even know that Columbia was the first shuttle into space. They only remember it coming apart on return.

Well, I only spent about 3 hours staring at it from every angle when I was at the Smithsonian :)

That and the SR-71 took up about half my time at the Udvar-Hazy center, so I would think I would know it :)

mugaliens
2007-Aug-09, 05:27 PM
Well, I only spent about 3 hours staring at it from every angle when I was at the Smithsonian :)

That and the SR-71 took up about half my time at the Udvar-Hazy center, so I would think I would know it :)

I saw the Enterprise up close and personal during the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans. It was a far cry from Capt Kirk's ship, but you've got to start somewhere, and since the original Enterprise began in the Navy...

danscope
2007-Aug-09, 09:08 PM
OK, I gotta brag and take the thread on a slight albeit related diversion.

When I was 15 I went with my church youth group to KSC to see Apollo 13. We had passes that allowed us to watch from viewing stands on the launch complex. My guess is we were 5 to 6 miles away and I recall a body of water between us and the pad.

The first stage ignited and we saw the stack sloooowly start to rise, and then steadily pick up speed and arc over. Soon after I noticed the water seemed to be rippling and dancing.

The stands began to vibrate as if an earthquake was rumbling underneath.

Then the sound hit my chest like a big open hand thumping me several times a second, and the roar filled the air and we had to yell to be heard -- and we were miles and miles away!

That Saturn V was something else.

http://history.nasa.gov/alsj/a13/ap13-KSC-70PC-178.jpg

Hi, Yes.....the Saturn V is the best.
We used to fire Polaris/Poseidon missiles from the OI . Up in Operations,
You are about 30 feet away from the SRB when it ignites. Of course it's gone in seconds.
I remember one morning when a Delta Rocket went up while we were at the pier in Cape Canaveral (Home) and a bunch of us scrambled up on deck to see
it just getting off. Beautifull scene!! Too bad second stage failed.
It's a difficult business. Ya need faith in tommorrow....every day.
See you near the launch pad.
Best regards, Dan

schlaugh
2007-Aug-09, 09:51 PM
...so how close did you get? What did you think?

cudachaser
2007-Aug-10, 12:43 PM
I've seen every launch from as close as 3 miles...awesome sound effects! I was working in the firing room for at least 20 launches including the Challenger explosion.

I even taught one of the launch directors to scuba dive...Bob Sieck. He has successfully launched and landed more shuttles than anyone else...around 50!

My favorite place to watch the launches is the beach at the end of my street in Cocoa Beach

mfumbesi
2007-Aug-10, 01:04 PM
I am jealous of you guys who've actually seen/experienced the Shuttle/Saturn V launches. For us in the third world we can only dream and hope someone makes a decent documentary of the launches.

cudachaser
2007-Aug-10, 01:30 PM
The Saturn was much more impressive than the shuttle...saw most of the Saturn launches also

mugaliens
2007-Aug-10, 06:09 PM
The Saturn was much more impressive than the shuttle...saw most of the Saturn launches also

Nice!

My most memorable event when I visited Cocoa Beach actually happened at the Beach, or rather, in the water. A dolphin was swimming North, about 60 yards off shore. When I saw him, I swam out until I was directly in his path, and he actually circled me once before proceeding northward!

Ok, I'll admit it - that was my second most memorable event.

My most memorable event was watching a Saturn launch when I was a child.

EvilEye
2007-Aug-10, 06:40 PM
Funniest launch delay ever?

Woodpeckers.

Ditchkid
2007-Aug-10, 08:10 PM
Well, the first shuttle to fly was the one that currently resides in the smithsonian, which is the Enterprise.

Then again, that isn't really a functional one...

More specifically it is in the air and space annex, not the one at the national mall.

FYI the launch was worth all the dealings with traffic, heat, and humidity.
Park on the water in Titusville (9 miles across the laguna), the experience (seeing hearing and feeling) was truely awesome.

schlaugh
2007-Aug-10, 08:57 PM
Allll Riiight!!!

:clap:

Peter Wilson
2007-Aug-10, 09:55 PM
Very good cjl!

I asked 50 people on another site, and not one of them came up with it (very sad)... without looking it up on the internet... :hand:

How do you know cjl didn't look it up on the internet :confused:

cudachaser
2007-Aug-10, 10:52 PM
I remember that issue...We hung plastic owls on the launch pad to scare the woodpeckers away!


Funniest launch delay ever?

Woodpeckers.

EvilEye
2007-Aug-11, 12:55 AM
:hand:

How do you know cjl didn't look it up on the internet :confused:

I don't. I assumed it because they didn't mention which one.... and most internet sites do say. :)

Delvo
2007-Aug-11, 01:06 AM
It wasn't really a shuttle anyway.

EvilEye
2007-Aug-11, 01:08 AM
It wasn't really a shuttle anyway.

Does that mean you're not an astronaut unless you actually go INTO space?

cjl
2007-Aug-11, 03:53 AM
:hand:

How do you know cjl didn't look it up on the internet :confused:

Well, I didn't (as I said, I sat there in the Udvar-Hazy center for hours looking at it), but there really isn't any way to prove it either way :)

Scopeman
2007-Aug-11, 06:12 PM
The best I could do was watching Shuttle launch on NASA TV. :) It`s just as easy. Well thats because I live far from America. I saw the launch and I was happy, Endeavour was as clean as a weasel.:lol: