Updated: June 24, 2019
Everyone is getting excited about this Falcon Heavy launch.
One particular update is the center booster core will be landing far out to sea, with perhaps a long-term goal to land much closer to shore and visible from most coastal areas. At this time only long-range center core booster landings are approved by FCC. Night launches are a long-exposure launch photographers dream.
Twenty Seven Merlin 1-D rocket motors will fire at the same time and then 3-each will kick on during booster re-entry and landing. Two outer cores will land at Landing Complex – 1 on LZ-1 and LZ-2 and the center booster will return to OCISLY (Of Course I Still Love You) Marimac 304 in the Atlantic Ocean.
The best public viewing options for this launch are (listed in order for best IMHO):
1. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge at Playalinda Beach. Park at Lot 1 (availability subject to change) and walk south approximately .80 mile to the border fence of CCAFS/KSC. There is a charge $10.00 per vehicle to enter the park. More detail to follow regarding launch time to park hours and specific open viewing areas at the beach. The Park opens daily at 6:00 AM. Entrance stations are open daily until Sunset. Vehicles may enter the park until the inbound gates are closed at 5:20 PM. All park operations and gates close at Sunset daily.
2. Several areas along US 1 in Titusville, including Kennedy Point Park, Space View Park. The best location is at the crest of Max Brewer Memorial Causeway (next to Pier 220 Seafood and Grill) where you will see more of the ignition/liftoff. This shuttle launch photo was taken from the crest of the causeway, 50-200 mm lens.
3. Port Canaveral – Best Location: HWY 401 from SR 528 (Beachline) at Cruise Terminal 5/6. Roadside parking is now closed. Proceed east to 100 Spaceport Way Cape Canaveral, FL 32920 where you will find a viewing area with bleachers. This is a beautiful viewing area over the Banana River. This one is the closest and offers a view close to T-0 ignition. Approximately 13.04 miles from the pad. Landmarks at this location are, SpaceX’s Launch and Landing Control and the Sands Missile Museum where you can purchase memorabilia.
4. SR 528 (Beachline) On the westbound side just after the exit for Hwy 401 is a great location. Plenty of parking and a veteran broadcaster sets up his RV and broadcasts the launch. Memorabilia and lot’s of discussion and experience out here.
5. KARS Park (Merritt Island – Courtenay Pkwy to Hall Road) is a private area however, some limited public access is available. Has a great view from their pier of the launch and landing. This location is the closest to equidistant and with good sounding off the water when the wind is blowing from the East.
6. You can purchase a launch viewing ticket in addition to your regular Visitor Complex ticket at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. You will be bused out to a very nice viewing location. Tickets sell out quickly, don’t delay.
7. Another option is a nice ringside seat in New Smyrna Beach at Apollo Beach Ramp 5, South Atlantic Avenue (SR A1A). This location is approximately 20.14 Miles to LC-39A and 29.32 to LZ-1.
LANDING VIEWING MAP
The BEST viewing location for a booster landing is anywhere on the beach between the Cocoa Beach Pier and Jetty Park. Jetty Park costs $5.00/vehicle a day for Brevard County residents and $15.00/vehicle a day for non-residents. Park hours are 5am to 11pm daily and usually stays open extra time for launches. If it’s closed you can park at Cherry Down Park and walk a bit north.
The Falcon Heavy outer core landings will be over the top! If you order tickets early there is excellent launch and landing viewing from Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. Subject to limitations. The tower is only 7.09 Miles from LZ-1 and 13.91 Miles from LC-39A.
There will be six sonic booms, 3 for each core, that may be discernable if the cores land seconds apart rather than simultaneously.
Larger view and to download the map go HERE.
Reach out by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about:
- Photography Tips
- Other Viewing Options
The roar of the Falcon Heavy will be heard from miles away….front row seats are just better. Claim yours! Arrive early, viewing areas will fill up quickly and traffic will be heavy. It may take hours to exit a viewing area or for the drive home!
All Images by Scott Murray @restrantek @murfampost