One of the coolest things about living Florida for the past 12 years has been the occasional front row seat when rockets (and previously space shuttles) have launched from Kennedy Space Center. Well, front row might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the view from Vero nearly 80 miles south is still pretty impressive.
When SpaceX announced they were getting close to launching the Falcon Heavy rocket, I really hoped it would be a night launch. The long exposure possibilities with the launch and attempted landing of 3 rockets would have been amazing. Alas, they picked 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. as the launch time. Not exactly the greatest time of day if you like doing long exposures. Even so, given the importance of the launch (the world’s most powerful rocket?!) I decided I should take the day off to try and photograph it.
No long working full-time for a media outlet, I knew getting on base wouldn’t be an option, so I ended up at Playalinda Beach located just north of the launch site. According to Google maps, my location was roughly 6 miles from Launch Pad 39A. The site itself already had an immense amount of historic launches. In all, the pad has 13 Saturn V, 4 Saturn IB, 135 shuttle, 1 Ares and 12 Falcon launches under its belt.
Watching the latest addition to that list, the first-ever Falcon Heavy, rumble into the sky was amazing, as was watching the two booster rockets return home 8 minutes later and make a picture perfect landing. Kudos, Mr. Musk. Well done. (That being said, if you ever end up with an extra Roadster on your hands again, you can just toss me the keys. It’s much cheaper than sending it into space.)