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Thread: Florida Rocket Launch

  1. #1
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    Florida Rocket Launch

    So we're headed to Orlando on Sunday for a family vacation and I just heard there is a rocket launch from Kennedy Space Centre while we're there. I believe it is scheduled for just after midnight on Tuesday (technically very early Wednesday morning). Is it realistic to expect to get a view of this from Orlando? I'd like to make the drive over to the coast for a closer viewing, but I'm not sure I'd be able to manage. The kids are still quite young (3 and 5) and we're planning to be at Disney to see the fireworks Tuesday night (for the Mickey's Halloween party). But I would still like to have some opportunity to see it if possible. Is there anywhere near the Orlando area where it would be good to watch the launch? Obviously from that far away it would mostly be just a streak of light. Not sure if I'd be too far away to try for any photos.

    Any help would be appreciated!

    Stephen

  2. #2
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    The scene from Orlando will be something that is a light going up in the sky and you won't have much view of the contrails at that time.

    It looks like the launch window opens at 4 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunrise is not until 7:30 a.m. that day it will still be extremely dark.

    If you really want to do the hyper dad thing the water at the beach is still warm and get a room at one of the hotels in Titusville/ Cocoa Beach for after Mickey's not so scary and just take him to the beach the next day.

    The area just north of the launch is Merritt Island and there's something called The Black Water Drive and that is where kayaker and I have taken bird picks for the last several years world-class birding
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info Mike. I've done a bit of looking since and I've seen a few long exposures taken from the Orlando area which show the streak of light rising up into the sky. Maybe I'll try for something like that if I don't actually make it closer.

    I think I am going to try to get out to Titusville or the Port Canavral area if possible...it's only an hour drive

    Also, what I saw put the launch window at 12:15am to 2:15am... So yes, very dark. Where did you get the 4am time? Do these things change very often?

    Stephen

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    So, I did this last February when I was out. I headed to Black point drive when they shot a Tesla into space. A few quick things:
    • Traffic is what you think it would be. In the morning, you may have a lot fewer people, but for an afternoon lift off, my trip back was ~4 hrs, and that is with paying attention to Google maps trying to find the fastest way back.
    • I would find some way to listen to the launch, so you know when it is coming. I was getting updates as to the launch time on my phone, but hearing an actual countdown would have been helpful.
    • Distance is a funny thing. I thought I was close, but I knew I was several miles away. Turns out where I was on Black point drive I was 12. I know this as it took 57 seconds for the sound to hit me (57 sec x 1125 ft/sec / 5280 ft/mile =12.1 miles). Then it was a low rumble.
    • I think the light from the rockets at launch would be a great shot. But, I would think about distance, launch angle, etc. My point being that the closer you get, the wider angle you will need. But you'll see all of my shots were with a telephoto, but I wasn't trying to get the arc. So, I would play with height/distance, etc. I am wondering about foreground interest, launch direction..maybe star trails with the rocket launch going through them.


    So, I have never posted...but here are some of my shots:
    If I recall, I was trying to keep some foreground interest, but this is 207 mm, 1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 320
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    same settings, 300 mm

    Name:  TDP-4381.jpg
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    same settings, 560 mm (400 DO II plus 1.4x TC)

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    So, I sat there in silence for 57 seconds (had second camera doing video). It was a bit surreal. Looking at my shots, they arc'd over the ocean, so, if they follow the same route (and I believe this is standard to avoid land in case of an accident), then being north or south along the coast, far enough away to be one of the first to hit a major road, may be a great spot.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 10-21-2018 at 12:11 PM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the feedback. Nice shots Brant.

    As for my trip, turns out we were at Disney much later than we originally anticipated. Kids had a late afternoon nap and so were good to go for all night. I still would have voted to go see the launch, but I guess my vote didn't count In any case, I did get to see the launch, but only from the parking lot at Disney. I didn't bother with any pictures, but did think it was pretty cool that it could clearly be seen from so far away. I'm definitely going to put this higher on my to-do list for my next visit.

    Stephen

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