BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Spectators hoping to witness firsthand the historic launch of the first crewed commercial rocket may find crowds of people lining the Space Coast beaches and waterways despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Other than the areas NASA typically closes for launches, such as portions of State Road 3, people will likely encounter few restrictions on where they can see Satuday’s scheduled liftoff.
“There is plenty of room along our 72 miles of coastline to watch the launch and practice social distancing but we urge visitors to plan ahead,” according to Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center remains closed due to the pandemic, but other popular launch viewing areas, such as the Max Brewer Bridge and parks lining the Indian River in Titusville, will be accessible during the countdown.
“The City of Titusville remains open for all launch viewers and there are no restrictions within our city limits,” said a police department spokesperson. “We are encouraging everyone to abide by CDC recommendations and maintain social distancing protocols.”
Jetty Park, another popular viewing spot, is only open to annual pass holders and will be closed once parking reaches 50% capacity on launch day.
Marshall Stout traveled from Alabama with his wife and two grandchildren with the sole purpose of catching this week's scheduled launch.
"We've got our masks in our car, so we'll probably wear them until we see how crowded everything is," said Stout as he scoped out a potential viewing location at Space View Park in Titusville.
"It's a big time for our nation," said Derek Tallent, an Atlanta resident who brought his young son to see the launch.
“It’s going to be something cool he’ll always be able to remember,” Tallent said.