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  Viewing the last of the space shuttle launches (Page 2)

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Author Topic:   Viewing the last of the space shuttle launches
teopze
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From: Warsaw, Poland
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posted 02-05-2010 07:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I plan to go see the launch this week. Since it's on Sunday it does not collide with my work (unless it's scrubbed, then I have to skip it). I have KSC Visitor Center tickets but decided to watch it from Titusville anyway (thanks for the e-mails with hints). I will arrive to Orlando Airport at roughly 6pm Saturday. Since the launch is scheduled for Sunday early morning I decided to simply go, see and go back (no hotel etc). There is only one thing which bothers me. How does one get to Titusville from Orlando at 8-9pm? I do not have a car not I want to rent one. Thanks!

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-05-2010 08:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There are shuttle services that will take you from Orlando Airport to Titusville (look under "Service Zone 2: Brevard County & The Beaches" on the linked site); you'll need to call them about your return options.

capoetc
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From: Newnan GA (USA)
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posted 02-05-2010 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for capoetc   Click Here to Email capoetc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by teopze:
How does one get to Titusville from Orlando at 8-9pm? I do not have a car not I want to rent one. Thanks!
You could try Florida Dolphin Tours. They pick up from various hotels in Orlando and they will drive you right out to the NASA causeway (closer than Space View Park in Titusville). From the airport, all you would need to do is get a taxi from the airport to one of the pickup hotels.

Gray Line Tours does the same thing, but they only have Visitor's Complex tickets still available.

I normally would not suggest the Dolphin Tours option (because once you depart from Orlando, there are no refunds in the event the shuttle does not go), but since you are only going to have the one shot anyway (not staying overnight in case of delay), this might work for you.

I think the Dolphin Tours option costs around $120 or so.

Good luck!

teopze
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posted 02-05-2010 08:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hmm, does it mean that if I buy the $120 ticket they will actually take me to the causeway? I mean, I do not have a ticket for that right? I have the one for Visitor Complex but it was suggested to me that I should forget about VC and just go to the Space Park as this is the best possible option excluding the causeway. I'm confused.

EDIT: Well, the VIP tickets are not available anyway. But thanks for the suggestion, good hint for the future.

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-05-2010 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I still believe renting a car is your best option. Reason being is it can be expensive to take a cab that far (especially coming back). I don't believe the public buses run that late and it is a bit of a haul to go that far (Robert mentioned the shuttle services, those could be pricey as well). Coming back can be worse if the traffic lines are long. Of course, that will depend on what time your flight leaves.

If all you rent is a micro-compact for a day or so, your budget should be fine.

ilbasso
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posted 02-08-2010 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For those who get the NASA Causeway tickets, I wanted to clarify the scrub policy. If you get the ticket with the orange stripes on the back (publicly-available tickets), they take your ticket and hand you a voucher when you enter the line for the bus to the Causeway. The voucher gives you priority to purchase Causeway tickets for the rescheduled launch date. You are directed to go back to the ticket booth if the launch is scrubbed and buy another ticket for $21.20. You have to do it within a couple of hours after the scrub, however, or you no longer have dibs on tickets.

When the launch was scrubbed Sunday morning, we went straight from the bus to the ticket booth and got new tickets with only a five minute wait.

drjeffbang
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posted 02-09-2010 11:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What's the best procedure for getting tickets now? I see that STS-131 tickets are going on sale Thursday at 9:00 a.m.

Last year we just called and got through. I see now there is a virtual waiting room system. Is this the best way?

Rob Joyner
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posted 02-09-2010 03:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dr. Jeff, if you were able to get causeway tickets even last year over the phone before they sold out then you should have played a few lotto tickets that day too! It was your lucky day!

Though I was told by DNC this new waiting room is said to help cut down on automated ordering systems it has created an avenue for live scalpers to open multiple windows, creates more internet traffic and puts you solely at the mercy of a robot. For years most people who truly wanted to see a launch could get a ticket online if you had your info ready and typed quickly when the tickets went on sale. This new system is truly a lottery. After two emails DNC has still yet to explain to me exactly how this new system is better than the previous, citing only that it seems to work better and allows everyone a fair chance to purchase a ticket. But by allowing the ordering process to become a geniune lottery it has made even more people clog their website when tickets go on sale by those like vacationing Orlando day trippers who would go if they got a ticket but wouldn't give it a second thought if they didn't.

I think DNC simply got a better deal financially by going with Tickets.com. The previous system was much fairer to genuine space fans by simply putting the tickets on sale for a few minutes and let the most prepared obtain one. Now we're just piled in a rotating squirrel cage with everyone else hoping the robot will pick our number. Unfortunately, it's their game and they have the only ball.

Good luck on Thursday!

ilbasso
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posted 02-09-2010 04:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Based on this past week, one way to get tickets would be to get Visitor Complex tickets and hope for a scrub. It appeared to me that less than 25% of the people who went to the Causeway the first night ended up going back out there for the second night. There would have been tickets available for people who wanted them. Those percentages might not hold up for a daytime launch, though.

drjeffbang
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posted 02-09-2010 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rob Joyner:
Dr. Jeff, if you were able to get causeway tickets even last year over the phone before they sold out then you should have played a few lotto tickets that day too! It was your lucky day!
Well, we kind of lucked into the causeway. It was STS-119 which was scrubbed for several days when the tanking leak occurred. We were able to upgrade our VC tickets to Causeway tickets.

We would love to get on the causeway again but if we cannot, we at least hope to be at the VC. We're taking two 6 year olds who are very excited to be going to KSC for a real launch!

andrewhheller
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posted 02-10-2010 04:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andrewhheller   Click Here to Email andrewhheller     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
Based on this past week, one way to get tickets would be to get Visitor Complex tickets and hope for a scrub.
Thank you so much for the information on the scrub policy.

Are you sure you can purchase tickets for the NASA causeway (again) if the launch is scrubbed after you board the bus?

KSC customer service is telling me in the event of a last-minute scrub you can only see the launch from the visitor complex and not the causeway.

ilbasso
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posted 02-10-2010 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, you can definitely purchase tickets again for the Causeway if the launch is scrubbed. They gave us vouchers the first night, which we used to purchase new tickets when we returned to the Visitors Center from the Causeway. They gave us another set of vouchers when we boarded the bus the second night, but we didn't need to use them.

Here's what the voucher says:

Launch Transportation Ticket Voucher

In the event of a delay of STS-130 Endeavour, the bearer of this voucher may redeem it at Ticket Plaza windows 15 or 16 for the priority purchase of 1 (one) Launch Transportation Ticket for the next launch attempt of STS-130 Endeavour. The cost for the ticket is $21.20 and there are only a limited number available on a first come, first serve basis.

This voucher is not a bus boarding pass and is not a guarantee that tickets will be available. Tickets must be purchased by February 8 at 8:00 a.m.

As I mentioned, only about 1/4 of the people came back for the second launch attempt. It could be because it was a night launch. However, I also talked to several people who had come to town just for the one day - they were banking on the launch happening on the first attempt and could not stay for another day.

stsmithva
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posted 02-10-2010 11:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for stsmithva   Click Here to Email stsmithva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a reminder: the opportunity to get tickets for the STS-131 launch viewing will be from 8:45-9:00 EST on Thursday. That's when one can enter the virtual waiting room. At 9:00, some virtual inhabitants of said room will be randomly selected to enter the actual ticket line. Type quickly and carefully!

drjeffbang
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From: Virginia
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posted 02-11-2010 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Due to high level of interest in tickets, some visitors may be in the virtual waiting room for an extended period of time.
Doesn't look good...

tncmaxq
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posted 02-11-2010 08:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tncmaxq   Click Here to Email tncmaxq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been in the waiting room for over a half an hour. Time to give up now? Not sure if they are supposed to give some indication when tickets are sold out. I doubt I will even go to the launch but wanted to keep the option open and figured I could give the ticket to a friend if I do not go.

drjeffbang
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posted 02-11-2010 08:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just got tickets...keep waiting!

tncmaxq
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posted 02-11-2010 09:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for tncmaxq   Click Here to Email tncmaxq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By the time it let me in only visitor center passes were for sale so I didn't go for it.

teopze
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From: Warsaw, Poland
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posted 02-11-2010 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Damn, I had a chance to buy Causeway tickets and... my credit card was not accepted! I'm getting really frustrated about seeing STS launch.

StarDome
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posted 02-11-2010 09:31 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Any cS'ers going out for the last launch in September?

teopze
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posted 02-11-2010 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for teopze   Click Here to Email teopze     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It would be very nice to see cS members in person.

I plan to see each and every last launch. I was the last one from Orlando which was 'a bit' of disappointment but at least I did see it...

drjeffbang
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posted 02-11-2010 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for drjeffbang   Click Here to Email drjeffbang     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, we got tickets to the KSC-VC. And we have some extras. If anyone needs VC tickets, let me know.

Now I just hope that 131 will go on time, or at least no more than 3 days late.

gliderpilotuk
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posted 02-12-2010 05:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by StarDome:
Any cS'ers going out for the last launch in September?
Yes! Assuming it IS around then.

I've seen my last 2 launches using Gator Tours and rather than risk the NASA "lottery" was planning on using them again. Ok it's $100 or so, but you know you've got a ticket to the causeway and they drive you from Orlando.

If there was sufficient interest I'd be happy to see if they would take a pre-booking for the final launch.

As this is likely to be the last manned launch for MANY years, we should try and have a group celebration/wake - assuming the ASF is not organising anything.

Rob Joyner
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posted 02-12-2010 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The DNC robot god did not smile favorably upon me either so I opted for Grayline in Orlando. Their LTT package is $115 for adults, $105 for kids.

For those of you who won't be in the Orlando area they have a pick up site in Titusville on Cheney Blvd at the old K-Mart plaza at 6:30am the day of the launch.

tegwilym
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posted 02-12-2010 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for tegwilym   Click Here to Email tegwilym     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm seriously thinking of trying for the September launch too. Sounds like the Gator Tours may be the best way to go.

I'm sure after the final launch, I'll be so depressed it's over that I'll cry all the way home to Seattle. *sniff*

StarDome
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posted 02-12-2010 02:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for StarDome   Click Here to Email StarDome     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by gliderpilotuk:
Yes! Assuming it IS around then.
Yep I know what you mean.

I am booking my fights, accommodation and car hire anyhow for September just in case (going for the no penalty options for cancelling, apart from the flight that is).

I am going out for about 20 days but we all know that the mission may well slip to later in the year or even 2011. I hope not though.

I am hopefully going to be back at the KSC press site for launch and am happy to meet up afterwards for a beer or two to celebrate/commiserate.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-15-2010 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is looking likely that STS-131 will slip to no earlier than (NET) April 4, which may also result in STS-132 slipping into early June.

ringo67
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posted 02-15-2010 01:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ringo67   Click Here to Email ringo67     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
So STS-131 is likely delayed.

That is so frustrating. It's ironic that it's the temperature INSIDE a building (the VAB) that's causing the problems.

Oh well, I've put in for my credentials to cover the launch, whenever it is.

AstroAutos
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posted 02-15-2010 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AstroAutos   Click Here to Email AstroAutos     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My family and I are in the early stages of possibly planning to come over to Florida from Ireland in late July through the first week of August to see the launch of STS-134.. but will the likelihood that STS-131 and 132 are now delayed affect STS-134's target date?

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-16-2010 12:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, 134 is scheduled to be Endeavour's final mission as far as I know. There is an inconnel seal on the wing that got bent up on 130, so it will need replacing and likely NASA will want to know what caused it. So it will likely cause a little bit of additional work in the OPF before rollover to the VAB for mating with the ET and SRBs. Weather could also be a factor as late summer tends to be the start of hurricane season.

As with any launch date, the further out it is the more flexible one needs to be with the planning to see it. There are a lot of factors that can determine when a shuttle will fly, and the next three missions before 134 are just some of them.

PowerCat
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posted 02-16-2010 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for PowerCat   Click Here to Email PowerCat     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I received a text message last night that indicated that STS-131/Discovery may be delayed until April 4th. The text indicated that Discovery's move to the VAB has been delayed until Feb 22nd due to the cold weather. Rollout would not occur until early March.

Has anyone been able to confirm or is this just speculation right now.

Editor's note: Threads merged

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-16-2010 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rollover has been delayed under no earlier than (NET) Feb. 22, per NASA. Rollout to the pad is a week later, set for March 2.

A new launch date has not been confirmed yet but it is likely to slip to April.

ringo67
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posted 02-16-2010 01:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ringo67   Click Here to Email ringo67     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've heard April 5 as a new NET date for the STS-131 launch.

Does anyone know what time of day that would be? I'm guessing it'll be sometime in the morning.

Ben
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posted 02-16-2010 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ben   Click Here to Email Ben     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
6:24am plus or minus a couple of minutes. Sunrise is 7:08am.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-16-2010 03:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-131's launch date has now been officially changed, per NASA:
NASA is aiming to launch shuttle Discovery's STS-131 mission on April 5 at 6:27 a.m. EDT. The change is due to the delay in moving Discovery to the VAB. That move was originally set for Feb. 15, but was rescheduled to Feb. 22 because of cold weather at the spaceport.

Jay Chladek
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posted 02-17-2010 10:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, there is one advantage to the date change. The hotel prices are currently lower as the local hotels in the region haven't picked up on the date change yet. I just booked last night for half of what it would have been for the March dates.

mjanovec
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posted 02-17-2010 10:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ben:
6:24am plus or minus a couple of minutes. Sunrise is 7:08am.

It appears there will be two sunrises that morning!

Space Cadet JC
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posted 02-17-2010 11:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Space Cadet JC   Click Here to Email Space Cadet JC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was aiming for STS-132, but with the delay from 131 I guess that will be pushed back. I have a pretty flexible schedule as I plan to drive down from DC 24-48 hours before the launch.

As this is my first one I have a number of questions. Is there any camping near Titusville? I intend to bring my tent and pitch it wherever I can, plus this gives me the flexibility to stay longer if requires. Also, is traffic and parking going to be horrendous on the day of launch? Is it even worth thinking about driving into Titusville?

I have a minivan. Anyone want to car share from DC?

ringo67
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posted 02-24-2010 02:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ringo67   Click Here to Email ringo67     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'm very excited. I just got approval e-mail from the NASA media accreditation office for my credentials to cover the STS-131 launch.

Now I have to firm up my travel plans.

Rob Joyner
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posted 02-24-2010 03:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rob Joyner   Click Here to Email Rob Joyner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Titusville pick up time for Gray Line's causeway bus is now midnight.

Question - since Discovery will launch about 40 minutes before actual sunrise, does NASA now consider 131 to be the last 'official' night launch? The sky will be fairly light at launch and nowhere near as dark as when 130 launched.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 02-24-2010 03:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
STS-131 will be considered a night launch. If STS-132 slips, it too may be a night launch. In fact, there is the small possibility that STS-129 will end up being the last day launch of the program.


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