STS-119 Launch Tonight!

Just a reminder that Space Shuttle Discovery will launching from LC-39A at KSC tonight at approximately 9:20pm EST. A day after the full moon, Discovery will be making what may very well be the last night launch of any Space Shuttle, as there are only 6 launches left before the program is decommissioned next year. STS-119 will be delivering the fourth starboard integrated truss segment and the fourth set of solar arrays and batteries to the ISS, which will make the ISS the 2nd largest object in the night sky, second to the moon and overtaking Venus.

For those of you not living on or visiting the Florida peninsula who could easily see it from their rooftops, the launch will be broadcast on most major news networks, and our favorite, NASA TV, both online and on cable television. To fix your hunger for a little more interaction, I have embedded the NASA TV stream and a chat on gameday’s offline page. If something happens, I won’t be able to fix it. I’ll be on Cocoa Beach watching this marvel in person! See you guys at the Florida regional!

Here are a few survivor tips for anyone going to the space coast to watch the Shuttle Launch.

  1. Go early. Depending on the time of launch you want to go as early as possible. If you can get there in 5 hours prior to launch, go and get a good spot. Traffic will be bad on SR-528, SR-50 and I-95. It will also be terrible heading “back home.” Expect 3-5 hour delays.

  2. Pick your spot carefully. Most people will be near the river, beach, or restaurants/bars. It will be crowded. Make the most of it with the people you are going with. Make sure you will be entertained.

  3. Bring a radio or some sort of mobile update on launch status to your mobile/PDA. Nothing is worst than being uncertain if the launch is still go or scrubbed (and leaving too early).

  4. If this is your first launch (or night one), avoid taking pictures (video, put it on a tri-pod and forget about it). It is a lot better to experience and witness it first hand, than distracted behind a camera.

  5. Be patient on the road. The closer you are, the better the view, but the harder it is to escape (due to traffic). Be safe out there, no need to incite road rage. You have a robotics competition tomorrow. :slight_smile:

Here are some recommended spots (for those not badged or have special passes out to property):

Note: I use Google Maps so copy and paste coordinates.

LC-39A - 28.608317,-80.604072

Jetty Park (along the Beach) at Port Canaveral - 28.407020, -80.589834
Anywhere along the beach is great since one get to see the launch directly north and fully see the trajectory of the Space Shuttle (it launches over the Atlantic, really cool). You have the beach, the ocean, and it can be really romantic/awesome. There are a couple of great restaurants in the area. What makes this spot ideal, is that this is the further north one can be without a badge. Stay and enjoy the area for another two or three hours before attempting to leave.

US1 along the Indian River in Titusville - Any where along the route I created
Look directly East and you will be able to see the VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building), and hopefully the launchpads. LC-39A will be the one on the right; should be well lit like a castle. And depending on where you are standing, LC-39A may be behind the VAB. There are several restaurants and generic places to park along the side of the road to watch across the river. This place works since one can quickly get back on SR-50 to head back to Orlando; expect traffic.

PM if you will be in town. I’m looking for fellow FIRSTers to join. If you cannot make the trip to the space coast tonight, please go to Exploding Bacon’s BBQ at Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ. Really good food and very close to UCF. You can still see the night launch from Orlando. And you don’t have to worry about the launch traffic. :wink:

FYI. The launch was scrubbed tonight due to a hydrogen leak.

Scrubbed at 2:37pm!!!
(Kind of bittersweet to see my team number in that context though. :o )

Yep. I got the twitter update just as I was getting on the Turnpike. Needless to say, I’m home now. The mission management team has a meeting at 5 to discuss the issue. They will try for an 8:54pm launch tomorrow night. More should be known after the MMT meeting.

Space Shuttle Launched Canceled. Next earliest launch opportunity is Sunday.