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Seeing a Kennedy Space Center Launch. - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

Seeing a shuttle launch live, personally, with family is one of the most memorable, unforgettable experiences a Florida vacation can offer. !

The general public were guided, approximately, six miles away from the launch pad due to the greatest danger. Which is, the noise generated from the huge engines, apparently, the loudest man- made sound next to an explosion of a thermonuclear device.

The best viewing area for the general public, we were told, was along the NASA Causeway that runs from Merritt Island to Cape Canaveral Air Force base, along the Banana river.

Our family were looking for a good vantage point and following another couple, then, emerging through the trees, we found the ideal spot. ! There was a large, raised concrete block with many people on it, chatting loudly and all very exited. !

On seeing us they called, ' come and join us, we' ll make room for you' and they helped us climb up safely.

We had hours to wait for the launch but, the time passed a lot quicker as everyone was getting along just fine.

The families were from many different counties, which was very interesting, and we all bonded very easily, we even swopped currency with some. One lady had a radio, tuned into the local station giving the launch details and updated everyone, too.

The launch time was due and our chatter subsided, we all waited, in awe. ! Time seemed to stand still, then just a couple of seconds later we saw a flash of light, a second or two before take-off. Then, the shuttle disappeared in a huge cloud of white, exhaust, then emerged again, a moment later, the engines spewing a blinding flame. !

The shuttle rose, it seemed slowly at first, then, came the roar of the booster rockets and the noise seemed to take complete control and the ground seemed to tremble under foot. ! The shuttle rose, higher and higher, much faster now, easily visible in the beautiful blue, cloudless, sky. It arced, gracefully, to the east, looking like a tiny toy, its journey to orbit being only a mere eight minutes. About two and a half minutes into the flight, the booster rockets dropped away and the shuttle became a star-like point of light, hurtling into the history books. !

We stayed on our concrete block awhile, telling each other our thoughts and saying we must repeat the experience again, sometime. !

We considered ourselves very lucky and will never forget the experience. !

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