KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - The 8.8 million pounds of thrust produced by NASA's Space Launch System rocket will be heard and felt for miles in Central Florida, but even if you can't make it in person, the liftoff will be worth watching.
NASA's first moon rocket in 50 years is slated for its maiden launch from Florida's Kennedy Space Center, known as the Artemis 1 mission, a precursor for human flights to the moon.
Here are a few pointers for those watching from home, and if you plan a trip to Florida, a list of locations across the Space Coast that will make ideal Artemis 1 launch-viewing spots.
How to watch Artemis 1 launch online or on TV
While approximately 100,000 to 200,000 people are expected to travel to Florida’s Space Coast to see the Artemis 1 launch, millions of others will watch online or on TV from home.
The SLS and Orion spacecraft is scheduled to launch during a 2-hour window which opens at 2:17 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 3.
How to watch Artemis 1 launch in person
The Director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism, Peter Cranis, said planning ahead is the best way to enjoy the Artemis 1 launch in person.
Plan to arrive hours early to your launch-viewing spot and bring plenty of water, sunscreen and food.
Parking will be tight in many of the most popular viewing locations, including Space View Park in Titusville, Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral and along the beaches in Brevard County.
"All the beaches that are north of Patrick Space Force Base are all great viewing locations," Cranis said.
Most beach parks have limited parking lots. Downloading the Passport Parking app is the easiest way to pay for parking on your phone.
Along the Indian River in Titusville, which runs parallel to Kennedy Space Center, is also a good option for launch viewing.
"There's a number of smaller parks across from the space center across the river," Cranis said. "Those are all very good viewing. Again, plan ahead because that stretch of route one that runs across from the space center gets very, very busy and a lot of traffic, and that's where a lot of people get stuck."
One of the launch viewing options is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, located just outside the gates of NASA's Kennedy Space Center.
Being close to the KSC launchpads makes the Visitor Complex a great spot to watch the launch. However, you will need tickets, which can be purchased online. Some of the closest viewing tickets from the Apollo/Saturn V Center are sold out a few weeks before the launch, but there is good news for general admission ticket holders.
"You have an amazing view no matter where you are when you're at Kennedy Space Center because we are one of the absolute closest places that you can be to watch a launch at Kennedy Space Center," said Howard Schwartz, KSC Visitor Complex senior director of marketing, sales and education.
Those who scored tickets must factor in traffic getting to the KSC Visitor Complex.
Some options that do not require tickets or reservations are the many public parks along the Indian River in Titusville.
The river runs parallel to the barrier islands home to the KSC and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station launch sites. A handful of parks in Titusville have become popular launch viewing sites. Again, the biggest issue will be parking, requiring some planning.
Launch-viewing options West of Kennedy Space Center
Here is a complete list of Titusville parks and addresses, along with some suggestions below.
- Space View Park
- Chain of Lakes Park
- Parrish Park
- Veterans Memorial Park
- Kennedy Point Park
- Rotary Riverfront Park
- Sand Point Park
There are metered parking spaces along Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach streets, but those spots usually fill up fast.
A list of public beach accesses in Cape Canaveral is available here.
A list of parking locations in Cocoa Beach can be found here.
Most beach parks in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach have parking and restrooms.
- Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral -Reservations needed for camping.
- Cape Canaveral National Seashore - NASA has the authority to close the park for launches. Check the website closer to Aug. 29 to find out if it will remain open.
- Cherie Down Park
- Cocoa Beach Pier – If you can grab a table at one of the restaurants or a spot on the fishing pier.
- Lori Wilson Park
- Shepard Park
- Tables Beach