‘You have to be here early:’ Historic Artemis I moon mission launch brings crowds to Florida parks

Mega moon rocket lifts off from Kennedy Space Center

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – NASA’s Artemis I moon mission launch early Wednesday packed nearby parks, as many came to witness the historic moment.

The launch was the first test flight for the 322-foot (98-meter) rocket — the most powerful ever built by NASA — and NASA will attempt to keep the capsule in lunar orbit.

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According to Brevard County Emergency Management, the following parks saw a large influx of crowds Tuesday night coming out to see the launch:

  • Rotary Riverfront Park (Titusville)
  • Parrish Park (Titusville)
  • A .Max Brewer Bridge Park (Titusville)
  • Sand Point Park (Titusville)
  • Veterans Memorial Park (Merritt Island)

News 6 reporter Troy Campbell found several crowds at Space View Park in Titusville, with many people having shown up hours in advance to secure a good seat to view the launch.

“These launches, you can’t show up 10 minutes, 15 minutes before a historic launch like this,” spectator Nicole Caroccio told News 6. “You have to be here early if you want a good spot.”

At one point, A. Max Brewer Bridge was closed in both directions due to no parking available and significant increases to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, according to Titusville police.

[RELATED: Space fans across Central Florida share photos, videos of Artemis I rocket launch]

The launch happened after two previous launch attempts had been called off, on Aug. 29 due to a faulty temperature sensor and on Sept. 4 due to a liquid hydrogen leak, NASA said.

The Space Launch System rocket and the Orion capsule on top stayed on the launch pad during Hurricane Nicole, suffering minor damages due to the Category 1 storm.

Hurricane Nicole’s high winds caused a 10-foot (3-meter) section of caulking to peel away near the capsule at the top of the rocket last Thursday. The material tore away in small pieces, rather than one big strip, mission manager Mike Sarafin said. NASA was able to make minor repairs ahead of Wednesday’s launch.

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About the Authors:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.