Living where I do, I am fortunate enough to be able to see the launches of the space shuttle as well as any rockets that are launched from Kennedy Space Center. We've watched launches from the beach as well as a few other places around town ~ although we can actually see them from our house. Since we don't have too many launches left we decided to get a bit closer this time.
We drove over to a park in Titusville which is right on the water across from Kennedy Space Center. You can clearly see the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) and the shuttle launch pad is just to the right of it.
We got there about 4:30 for a 7:43 launch time. We found a nice spot right on the water ~ brought a picnic dinner of subs from Subway as well as grapes, carrots, chips, etc. The kids played on the playground and we all tossed some balls around.
Before too long, the park was pretty packed.
We talked to a few of the people close to us. The family right next to us was visiting from Canada. Almost all of them were from out of town and had never seen a shuttle lift off. Not sure why but I feel very proud showing off "our" shuttle launches and am happy to answer their questions.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful launch. The shuttle went up just about 10 minutes after sunset. Here is the initial "firing" of the engines
And here is the shuttle just a few seconds after lift off
This picture does not do the sight justice but you can get an idea of the trail from the shuttle as the sun still up just enough to shine off the smoke and if you look just to the right of the smoke you can see the shadow cast by the shuttle and smoke.
This is the separation of the solid rocket boosters
We were able to see them fall all the way down.
All in all it is a great experience. One I hope you all have the chance to see before it's too late.
There is another rocket being launched tonight which we will most likely watch from home.