CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - History will be made next week, as NASA and SpaceX will launch the first astronauts from American soil in nearly a decade on May 30th from Kennedy Space Center. If you want to watch the launch, you have several options.
The historic launch was originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon but was scrubbed after unfavorable weather conditions continued throughout the entire day.
NASA said this will be the first crewed mission into orbit from the U.S. since the end of the space shuttle program in 2011. Veteran astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken will travel into space on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, testing its systems for the first time in orbit before docking at the International Space Station. They will finish their mission by re-entering Earth's atmosphere and splashing down just off of Florida's Atlantic Coast.
If the mission is successful, it will validate SpaceX’s crew transportation system, including the launch pad, rocket, spacecraft, and operational capabilities. This will allow the Crew Dragon spacecraft to complete longer missions, taking the next step in space exploration.
Liftoff time of the manned mission is expected to be at 4:33 p.m. EDT. on May 27th.
Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Port Canaveral officials have warned the public that viewing access for this launch will be limited, as federal and state guidelines must be followed to minimize the potential spread of coronavirus.
Nevertheless, several areas will be available for people to park and watch the launch.
The following areas will be open for parking:
- Jetty Park: Limited to annual passholders. The parking lot will close at 50 percent capacity. No walk-ins or bicyclists will be allowed entry.
- Boat ramp parking at Freddie Patrick Park: Parking is first-come, first-serve. Boat ramps must be used by boater vehicles or trailers using boat ramps.
- Parking at Rodney S. Ketcham Park: Parking is first-come, first-serve. Boat ramps must be used by boater vehicles or trailers using boat ramps.
- Cove Parking for restaurants: The paved parking lot south of the Cove dining district will be open exclusively for Cove merchant patrons. Capacity will be limited to 729 vehicles.
- Accessible parking: The paved parking spaces on Mullet Drive that are north of the Exploration Tower and adjacent to the Cove dining district will be open. No shoulder parking is allowed.
The following areas will not be open for parking:
- Exploration Tower and parking lot.
- All cruise terminal parking garages.
- George King Boulevard or any Port roadways.
- Unpaved lots or grassy surface areas.
- State Road 40.
- State Road 528 median – the entire length.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will reportedly attempt to control traffic flow on S.R. 528 and S.R. A1A, particularly at the exits for George King Boulevard and Port Canaveral. S.R. 401 will be open but limited to commercial and official traffic heading to the Port's northside operations and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Officials said that signs on roadways and intersections will advise motorists of the restrictions and if parking capacity has been reached at designated parking areas.
They added that motorists are advised to enter the Port at George King Boulevard from S.R. A1A or 528. They must exit on George King Boulevard for S.R. A1A or S.R. 528 after the launch.
Those watching the launch in person should comply with social distancing requirements and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10, Port Canaveral officials said.
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