Giant Crowds Expected for NASA’s Inaugural Mega Rocket Launch

Giant Crowds Expected for NASA's Inaugural Mega Rocket Launch
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Spectators watch the liftoff of the space shuttle Atlantis on July 8, 2011. The launch was NASA's 135th and final space shuttle launch.

Spectators watch the liftoff of the space shuttle Atlantis on July 8, 2011. The launch was NASA’s 135th and final space shuttle launch.
Photo: Phil Sandlin (access point)

NASA’s SLS rocket is scheduled to be launched for the first time in just three weeks, rolling off the launch pad with 8.8 million pounds of thrust. There will be thousands upon thousands of spectators to watch it take flight, as the age of Artemis officially begins.

The 322-foot-tall Space Launch System is the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built, launching with 15% more power than the Apollo-era Saturn V rocket and nearly 12% more power than the system that launched the space shuttle into orbit. . . Attending an SLS launch will be a feast for the senses and a major draw for tourists visiting the Florida Space Coast.

Artemis 1, the inaugural launch of SLS, is currently scheduled for August 29 at 8:33am ET, with backup windows available on September 2 and 5. A local tourism official told florida today That Mmore than 100,000 visitors are expected to attend the launch, in which the SLS will ascend from launch pad 39B at the Kennedy Space Center and attempt to send an uncrewed Orion capsule on a 42-day journey around the Moon and back. The launch will signify the start of the Age of Artemis and potentially setting the stage for a manned repeat of the mission in 2024 and a manned mission to the lunar surface no sooner than 2025.

The Space Coast is no stranger to large crowds. During the shuttle era, it was not uncommon for half a million people to attend a launch, and as Peter Cranis, executive director of the Space Coast Tourism Office, told Florida Today, SpaceX Crew Dragons launches are attracting up to 250,000 visitors Consequently, the estimate of 100,000 people for the launch of SLS may be low, although it is difficult to know.

De hecho, el entusiasmo por el programa Artemis de la NASA no ha sido muy grande. A principios de este año, none of the contestants Danger! knew about the upcoming missions to the Moonand during a NASA press conference on August 3, a reporter from Ohio claimed that only two 30 people in his newsroom knew that the United States was going back to the Moon. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was surprised by this statement, saying that reporters in Orlando are certainly aware of the Artemis missions and that the eventual moon landings will capture public attention and make the nation’s front pages.

In any case, the influx of visitors to the area could exhaust the capacity of the area to house them. Florida Today says that just over 10,000 hotel rooms and 4,500 vacation units are available in Brevard County. That said, many visitors to surrounding areas, like Orlando, won’t be spending the night.

For tourists, the Space Coast really lives up to its name. In addition to his beautiful beaches, this stretch of the Atlantic coast now witnesses a constant stream of rocket launches. The current year alone has already seen 32 launches from the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral, at a rate not seen since the 1960s.

Tourists can watch these launches from the beach, in designated areas near the launch pad, and even from a rooftop bar. The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex features another attraction, including the newly opened Gateway: The Deep Space Launch Complexwhich presents a scale model of SLS, space suit replicasand a SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster.

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