Watching the Rocket Launch

Thursday April 12th 2019

It was a beautiful day for a rocket launch. The day started foggy and cloudy, but ended with high well scattered clouds. The only down side was the temperature. It got to the mid eighties.

There were lots of shells on the beach to pick through while walking the beach and waiting for the launch.

I made my second attempt to watch the launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket from the Kennedy Space Center. Today was successful. I returned to the same location I parked at yesterday. The parking lot at the Cherie Down Park was still had a few spaces when I arrived a half an hour later than yesterday. I was aiming for a 3PM or later arrival, but made good time and arrived before 3PM. I had more than 3.5 hours to kill before the launch.

Lunch time in the breaking surf.

Similar to yesterday I walked north along the beach to Jetty Park. Even though it was packed, it didn’t look like there were as many people there today. I spent time walking around watching the people, the birds, the boats in the Port Canaveral channel and the fishermen. All of the local news crews were back with their remote equipment. The highlight today was the departure of the Carnival Cruise Ship Liberty.

Carnival Liberty leaving port.

Around 5PM I walked back down the beach to my car for a snack and to get my good camera. I still had close to an hour wait before the launch. The beach continued to fill up with people from nearby residences. By the time the 6:35PM launch occurred the beach was an obstacle course of people.

Sheriffs deputies were patrolling the beach on quads.

This is the fifth launch I’ve seen. The first was a Space Shuttle launch in the early 1990s. The next three were smaller rockets that launched in the last few years. I think two were Falcon 9s and one was another brand. The big difference with this one is the extra thrust and fire going up and the return of the two side boosters to land a few minutes later. One of the reasons I chose this location to watch the launch was the proximity to the booster landing area. The third booster landed on a ship at sea well over the horizon.

Is the bird watching the launch or just getting in my picture?
This picture is cropped so the outline of the rocket is visible.
Two boosters coming down to land at the Cape Canaveral Air Station on the north side of the Port Canaveral channel. Somebodies fishing poles got in the middle of this picture.

Leaving the beach area after the launch was a challenge. The setting sun was directly in front of the west bound lane filled with stop and go cars. The journey was further complicated by cars trying to join the migration from the side of the road. Many people had decided to stop on the causeway to watch the launch. I was back at my RV home before 8PM.

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