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Seeing a Rocket Launch

Seeing a rocket launch is a real once in a lifetime experience for most people in the UK. For starters you need to be in Florida, then you need one of around 20 launches a year to happen when you are actually there.

Then you need to make sure you haven’t double booked with Be Our Guest at the Magic Kingdom or something similar. Finally, you need the weather to be right and to have all systems go to witness a rocket launch! Once all this is in place you can sit back, from one of many vantage points and watch something truly breath-taking.

Rocket Launch Trail
We’ve had lift off!”

Now, I’ve been lucky enough to get my timings right on two occasions and see two separate launches. I didn’t book a holiday when there was a launch scheduled but there were things that I did to maximize my chances once the holiday was booked.

Firstly, I signed up for notifications about launches via the Kennedy Space Centre website and I followed them on social media. This lets me see when launches were scheduled to happen and when those scheduled were changed, as they frequently are.

For our first trip, I had a look and saw one scheduled for when we were there and that went up on time and was easy to plan. About three weeks before we left the UK we altered our Disney plans and factored in a trip to Kennedy Space Centre to coincide with the launch.

On another trip, there were no launches scheduled but I kept checking as some had been put back. I knew via social media that they were looking for viable launch dates. I was lucky in that one was put in 24 hours after we landed. All we did was get back to the Villa and then those who wanted to see the launch had a quick hour drive over to the coast to see it.

The best place to view a Rocket Launch.

The first time I viewed from within Kennedy Space Centre. The advantage of this (and something I recommend) is that you have a member of the KSC team there to ask questions to. This is brilliant and so informative. Then about 5 minutes before launch they connect through to the live feed as they go through the final system checks, this is mega exciting! I’m adlibbing here but it goes something like this…

  • Orbiter transfers – “Is Go”
  • Ground launch sequencer “is go”
  • Activate launch pad sound suppression system “is go”

The team go through all the checks as people verify that everything is ok by saying “is go” and the excitement just builds. Then finally…

“All systems are go!”

Then the count down and finally LIFT OFF!!!

Last year, we didn’t view the rocket launch from Kennedy Space Centre. We didn’t want to pay the money so we found a spot to watch it on the coast, this was near Titusville. There are lots of free spots and they are just as good but you don’t get the commentary which I personally got a big kick out of.

We also saw one from Playa Linda Beach, that was probably the closest we have seen one from. It is worth seeing which launchpad they are using for your specific launch. That way you can Google the best places to see a launch from that specific lauchpad.

Which ever way you choose seeing a rocket launch is amazing. And it’s something you should do if you possibly can. It’s a memory that will last you a lifetime.


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