You’re here because you’re wondering where the best places to watch a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral. Be it in person viewing or watching it online. We’ve got you covered with this helpful guide.
On a website with Spock in the title, we have to talk about SpaceX, NASA, Space Coast and rocket launches at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral right? 🙂 Of course! Below we have outlined where to see and go to get the best spots to view a rocket launch.
As a someone born in the mid 70s I missed all of the Apollo missions but of course I recall Challenger in 1986 in the many other missions since.
However, it’s great to see that Elon Musk and his SpaceX company has helped to rejuvenate interest in these magnificent launches on the Florida coast and that NASA has selected them to develop a new Lunar Module. With credit to United Launch Alliance (ULA), rocket launches have begun to take place monthly or bi-monthly. More exciting times ahead for space and space exploration.
Interested in seeing a Launch in Texas? SpaceX test launch facility is in Boca Chica. Read all about the area and best vantage points around there. Or read all about when will Space Tourism be affordable.
Table of Contents
- 1 Kennedy Space Center – The Hot Seats
- 2 Watch the Launch Online
- 3 Past Launches
- 4 Jetty Park Beach & Campground Launch Viewing
- 5 Space View Park, Titusville Launch
- 6 Titusville area – other prime viewing spots
- 7 Exploration Tower – A jewel in the crown of Florida’s Space Coast
- 8 Launch Day – Traffic and safety tips
- 9 Launch Day Packing List
Kennedy Space Center – The Hot Seats
Look, this place has it all. You can literally make an epic family day excursion when visiting the Kennedy Space Center. Coinciding it with a launch is the makings of any trip to the center. It offers by far the best seats in the house as it provides the closest public viewing area of rocket launches and you’ll generally have live launch commentary from Space experts too to heighten the excitement.
For KSC, be sure to subscribe to their newsletter and book in advance so as not to be disappointed.
There are different pricing categories for entrance to the Kennedy Space Center. Standard admission is $57 for Adults and children over the age of 12. It costs $47 for children age 3-11 years.
For launch VIP viewing there are various pricing levels. With the example of Space X Crew-2 Launch in April 2021, the viewing packages started at $195.
You can view more options on the KSC website. Make sure to book online in advance of your trip and you won’t be disappointed.
Watch the Launch Online
Latest live feeds will appear directly below.
Next Launch Friday April 8, 2022
SpaceX is targeting Friday, April 8 for Falcon 9’s launch of Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch window opens at 11:17 a.m. ET, 15:17 UTC, with a backup opportunity available on Saturday, April 9 at 10:54 a.m. ET, 14:54 UTC.
This will be the fifth flight for this Falcon 9 first stage booster, which previously supported launch of GPS III Space Vehicle 04, GPS III Space Vehicle 05, Inspiration4, and one Starlink mission. Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will land on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. The Dragon spacecraft supporting this mission previously flew the Demo-2 and Crew-2 missions.
Axiom Space’s Ax-1 mission is the first all-private human spaceflight mission to the International Space Station. The Ax-1 crew will participate in educational outreach and conduct innovative research experiments while on the orbiting laboratory.
The webcast for the Ax-1 mission will go live approximately three hours before liftoff and will remain live until about 15 minutes post launch. Mission coverage will resume approximately two hours prior to docking.
SpaceX is targeting Tuesday, January 18 for a Falcon 9 launch of 49 Starlink satellites to low Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch window is at 7:04 p.m. EST (00:04 UTC on January 19). The booster supporting this mission previously launched GPS III-3, Turksat 5A, Transporter-2, and six Starlink missions. Following stage separation, SpaceX will land Falcon 9’s first stage on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship, which will be stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. Each of Falcon 9’s fairing halves previously supported one Starlink mission. A live webcast of this mission will begin about 15 minutes prior to liftoff.
SpaceX and NASA are targeting as soon as Wednesday, November 10 for Falcon 9’s launch of Dragon’s third long-duration crew mission (Crew-3) to the International Space Station from historic Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The instantaneous launch window opens at 9:03 p.m. EST, or 2:03 UTC on November 11, with a backup opportunity available on Thursday, November 11 at 8:40 p.m. EST, or 1:40 UTC on November 12.
Following stage separation, Falcon 9’s first stage will land on the “A Shortfall of Gravitas” droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean.
During the Crew-3 mission, NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer will fly aboard the Dragon spacecraft, marking the fifth human spaceflight mission SpaceX has launched since May 2020.
The webcast for the Crew-3 mission will go live about 4 hours before liftoff.
Outside of Kennedy, Playalinda beach rocket launch is one of the closest places to hang out to see a launch.
In particular Playalinda Beach is a great place for a viewing rocket launches from the following complexes:
- Falcon 9 launches from Launch Complex 40
- Atlas V launches from Launch Complex 41
- Generally good for most KSC launches
Is Playalinda beach open during launches?
However, be aware that it’s so close that it can sometimes be closed to the public during launches from launch pad 39A. Do check with the Playalinda Beach National Park website or phone to find out the access on the day.
If it is open you’re in for a hell of a treat as it’s one of the better Cape Canaveral viewing areas.
As this is a National Park in Playalinda there is an entry fee requirement. It is open normally from 6am to 8pm in Summer, 6am – 6pm in Winter. As some launches are in the evening or nighttime, the park may be closed at the time of launch
- $20 for cars
- $15 Motorcycles
- $10 for pedestrians and bicycles
Jetty Park Beach & Campground Launch Viewing
One of our favorite places to see a NASA or SpaceX launch is for sure Jetty Park.
Currently open from 5am to 11pm. You should surely be able to see launches at all times of day here without fear of getting locked in. Also it remains open during all launches, unlike playalinda
Best viewing area for SpaceX launches from the following complexes:
- Best for launches from Complex 46
- Great viewing for most launches
- Booster returns at LZ-1 – you can’t miss these incredible feats of human engineering. Jawdropping stuff!
The following entry fee structure is in place with limitations during COVID-19 to 50% capacity. Phone in advance & purchase here
- $15 for cars
- $5 for motorcycles
- $20 for RVs
- $25 for buses
Space View Park, Titusville Launch
So, Space View Park is situated about 15 miles directly opposite (across the Indian River) from the launch pads of the Kennedy Space Center.
Open to the public at no cost, this is an amazing park solely dedicated to our brave astronauts and those behind the scenes who pushed boundaries and our thirst for knowledge into the vastness of space.
This is a popular destination for ALL launches and best for:
- Falcon 9 launches from Launch Complex 39A
- Good for most launches
The Park is always open but get here early and settle in. Allow lots of time for travel and parking.
During the buildup and to a Rocket or shuttle launch there will be live audio feed direct from NASA control room. What an added bonus while you relax and let your adrenaline build up as the launch approaches and that countdown begins. T-10, 9….
Titusville area – other prime viewing spots
The Titusville area stretches along the opposite bank of the Indian River from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.. With most launches taking place from NASA/SpaceX launch Complexes 39A, 39B and 41, the Titusville are will always be prime real estate when it comes to launches.
Such viewing spots in Titusville include:
- Sand Point Park – 7am-6pm Daily – Good view for most launches
- Manzo Park – small amenity park – open daily – good for most launches
- Rotary Riverfront Park – 6am-6pm Daily – good for most launches
Exploration Tower – A jewel in the crown of Florida’s Space Coast
Firstly, what a stunning piece of architecture. With seven floors of exhibits and interactive amusements, the Exploration Tower truly includes something for everyone who visits.
Should you managed to get ticket on the day of a launch, you will have access to indoor and outdoor observation decks. Views of KSC and Port Canaveral are awesome from the building.
As of September 2020, the Tower is not open for Launches. However, under normal circumstances you can pre-book by clicking here.
Launch Day – Traffic and safety tips
- Give yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination on launch day. Traffic will be extra heavy with many other eager tourists making their way to The Space Coast
- Traffic restrictions or detours may be in operation on launch day.
- Follow directions from security, police and/or emergency personnel
- It’s normally hot an humid. Pack lots of fluids to stay hydrated and snacks to keep you fed, especially if you have kids with you(launch windows can be long).
- Wear proper clothes for the weather (the weather can change quickly and dramatically in Florida)
- Pack a flashlight or headlamp + spare batteries for evening and early morning launches.
Launch Day Packing List
- Sun protection: sunscreen, hats, umbrellas and sunglasses
- Insect repellent – those mosquitoes are relentless.
- Cooler boxes or lunch boxes
- Water in plastic bottles + ample food supplies for a long day.
- Cameras, tripods and binoculars
- Blankets or umbrella-style folding camp chairs carried in shoulder bags
I hope you found this guide useful. Mostly, enjoy this awesome experience. Take a ton of photos. Don’t get sun burnt or dehydrated and hopefully the launch will go ahead on schedule.
Recommended reading: Continue your exploration of Florida – visit Honeymoon Island