They are coming.
Tourism officials on Florida’s Space Coast are anticipating a massive influx of tourists for the upcoming Artemis 1 lunar mission, the first launch for NASA space launch system Rocket. The “Space Coast” is a term for the Florida region in which both are located Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Space Force space station are located.
“First-time viewers should start planning their Space Coast getaway now to be prepared. Many beachfront hotels are already sold out for the Artemis launch trials, but rooms are still available on the mainland,” Peter Cranis, executive director of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism, told Space.com. “There are many viewpoints to choose from, and we recommend getting to your chosen location early to find parking and keep an eye on backup locations. There will be a significant amount of traffic before and after takeoff, so visitors should make sure they’ve taken bathroom breaks before the trip, stocked the car with snacks or children’s entertainment, and packed their patience.”
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Cranis added that Artemis 1 Launch viewers “Remember to wear sunscreen, download the SpaceCoastLaunches app (opens in new tab), and keep an eye on the official NASA and Space Coast Office of Tourism social media feeds for updates. If you post pictures or videos on social media, please use #SpaceCoast so we can see and potentially share them.”
Cranis said that while it’s difficult to tell viewers what to expect from the first launch, the storied history of Space Shuttle launches at the Cape could give us a clue as to what the launch of Artemis 1 will be like . “It’s hard to say what to expect as this is the SLS’s maiden voyage, but we’re told it will look and feel similar to Shuttle launches due to the sheer power,” he told Space.com. “These include rumble and vibrating windows quite a distance away. Although you can see a rocket launch via video or even from across the state on a clear day, nothing beats hearing and feeling the launch up close. The Space Coast is the only beach that doubles as a launch pad, and we look forward to this next chapter in human spaceflight and space exploration.”
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Florida Today reports that officials expect over 100,000 tourists will flock to Florida when the space agency plans to launch the massive 200-foot (61-meter) rocket on August 29 (or on alternate placeholder dates on August 3 and 5). September) to start. . Artemis 1 will launch from Launch Pad 39B at KSC on an unmanned test flight that will place the Orion spacecraft in orbit around the Moon for six to 19 days before returning to Earth. The mission will serve as a key test for NASA’s future manned Artemis missions.
“We are expecting a large crowd at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for the upcoming Artemis launch,” said Therrin Protze, the visitor complex’s chief operating officer, according to Florida Today. Protze added that KSC will offer “special Artemis launch viewing packages that will include some of the closest public viewing opportunities with distinctive experiences such as live commentary from space experts and access to select exhibits and attractions.”
Cranis said that other missions like the last one SpaceX Crew Dragon Starts, have attracted just as many visitors, with some crowds of up to 250,000. Luckily, the surrounding county has more than 10,000 hotel rooms and 4,500 vacation rentals, but there will also be plenty of other visitors heading in for the launch without needing to book accommodation.
Not only launch observers are excited about the upcoming Artemis 1 mission. Mike Bolger, director of KSC’s Exploration Ground Systems, told Florida Today that even KSC employees are excited about the launch. “The growing sense of energy and excitement that has built steadily around Kennedy and our staff over the past year is palpable,” said Bolger. “A sense of anticipation grows daily as we near the launch of this amazing rocket and spacecraft.”
KSC Director Janet Petro said the entire center is counting down to launch day. “You can see it on people’s faces, you can hear it in their voices, and when we all stand together and raise our eyes to the sky on release day, I don’t think there will be a feeling like that in the world. “