Hundreds of thousands of visitors leave disappointed after Artemis scrub

NASA’s next launch attempt is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 2

Businesses along the Space Coast have reported booming sales thanks to the number of people in the area coming to see the Artemis I launch, with the delay perhaps bringing in even more.

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Over 1,000 people packed into Space View Park on Monday hoping to see the Artemis launch but were unfortunately left disappointed after it was scrubbed.

Some had even traveled many miles to try to witness history.

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“I’m fairly disappointed. I was excited to see us shoot that rocket up to the moon but we will be back Friday,” said Jay, who was visiting from Orlando.

Over 100,000 people came to the Space Coast. There was gridlock traffic, bridges lined with people, and packed parks along the river. Volunteers said the crowd showed up in record numbers to Space View Park.

“It’s just a historic opportunity to see all of this, it’s just historic. It’s like the new Apollo program,” said Ryan, who just moved to the area from Colorado.

The bad news came after many camped out for hours to get a good viewing spot. Some got to the park as early as midnight.

“The tension around the area where we are here in Space View Park you could cut it with a butter knife. Everyone here was on the edge up to the last minute and they’re all a bit disappointed but I’m sure a lot of them are going to be coming back,” said Thomas from Orlando.

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While some must go home now, others said they’ll back here and after seeing the crowds Monday, will be showing up even earlier on Friday.

“I’m very excited to see it in person—to see us actually launch a rover up there and possibly a manned mission in the future,” said Reagan, from Orlando.

News 6 spoke with Mike Fournier, who said he’s making himself at home at Jetty Park after he and his family traveled from Chicago for the launch. They’re staying in the area through Sunday, though Fournier said he wasn’t alone after finding out Monday’s launch was scrubbed.

“I was (disappointed) because it would have been my first time seeing it, and it just would be totally amazing,” Fournier said.

Nick James and his family came to town from New Jersey.

“I wanted to see it go up. I just wanted to see it,” James said. “I want to see all the flames.”

Michael James told News 6 he couldn’t stay to watch the next launch.

“No, I’ve got to go back to work,” he said.

However, businesses along the Space Coast have reported booming sales thanks to the number of people in the area coming to see the launch.

John Zarrella, co-owner at Zarrella’s Italian & Wood Fired Pizza in Cape Canaveral, said he’s seen a roughly 20% boost in business over the past few days.

“Business has been off the charts since last Thursday,” Zarrella said. “You can see it’s packed.”

Matthew McGregor at Kelsey’s Italian Restaurant said that he’s hoping the upcoming Labor Day weekend will bring in big bucks, especially with the launch being slated for Friday afternoon.

“We’re expecting a larger crowd this weekend,” McGregor said.

Space Coast tourism leaders said that it’s too soon to say how many people who came for Monday’s scrubbed launch will stick around for the next try later this week.

They said that the Labor Day weekend may cause some to extend their stays to try to watch the launch — if it happens.

The next launch window opens Friday at 12:48 p.m.

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About the Authors:

Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.