Waiting for a Rocket Launch

Wednesday April 10th 2019

There were a few light showers overnight, but it was just cloudy by morning. It took until almost noon for the clouds to part enough for the sunshine to reach the ground. The temperature peaked in the mid eighties and a few afternoon showers passed through parts of the area.

This guy probably couldn’t figure out why all the people were on his beach.

The launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket was scheduled for the window from six thirty five in the afternoon until eight thirty. To get a decent place to watch the launch I left my RV home shortly after 1PM. I choose to watch the launch about an hour from home on the beach south of the Kennedy Space center in Cape Canaveral or Cocoa Beach Florida. I could have chosen areas in Titusville across the Indian River from the complex that were closer, but there was less to do while I waited in that area.

Casino ship returning to Port Canaveral.

I parked at the Cherie Down Park on the beach in Cape Canaveral. I’m familiar with the area from my previous stays at Jetty Park just to the north in Port Canaveral. The beach is in much better condition than it was in November thanks to a beach sand reclamation project. Contractors are dredging sand north of Port Canaveral and piping it through two foot diameter pipes onto the beach south of Port Canaveral. I spent most of the nearly five hours I spent waiting for the launch walking on the new beach sand.

Some of the people waiting to see the launch at Jetty Park. There were at least four television stations setup in the crowd.

To kill time I walked up the beach to Jetty Park. As I feared, it was already full of people waiting to see the launch before 3PM. One of the television channels showed people arriving at Jetty park on the morning news. People lined the side of the Port Canaveral channel watching the boats and birds to pass the time. Many people had fishing lines in the water. I even saw a few small fish caught from the fishing pier. While I was wandering around the Jetty Park area the word spread through the waiting crowd that the launch time had moved from 6:35PM to 8PM. It wasn’t a welcomed thing to hear for people like myself that were already getting board.

Sea Turtle in the Port Canaveral Channel.

By 5:15 I was back down the beach at my car. I had water and a snack in the car to keep me going for the next few hours. The small parking lot at Cherie Down Park was completing full and the sheriffs deputies were keeping people from parking on the road. To keep busy while I waited the remaining couple of hours, I walked south on the beach toward the Cocoa Beach pier. The pipe line for the beach sand reclamation project continues south along the beach. I turned around at about six fifteen and returned to my car at Cherie Down Park to recharge my phone.

With enough charge in my phone to check the SpaceX twitter feed, I learned that the latest launch target was 8:32. They were waiting for the strong winds at altitude to subside, but weren’t optimistic. I got ready to leave. The launch was postponed until tomorrow. I get to walk the beach and wait all over again.

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