Falcon Heavy launch: Prepare for traffic near KSC, Port Canaveral

Access to roads near KSC to be restricted; Port Canaveral parking $15

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Pictured: Falcon Heavy’s 27 Merlin engines and three first-stage boosters. The engines generate more than 5 million pounds of thrust at liftoff. (Image credit: SpaceX)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. - Falcon Heavy will launch as soon as Wednesday from Kennedy Space Center, a little more than a year after the rocket first blasted off from the same pad on a successful test flight.

SpaceX plans to send up a communication satellite for Saudi Arabia’s Arabsat from Pad 39A.

The launch window opens at 8 p.m. and runs to 8:32 p.m.

[Watch the static fire below as all 27 Merlin engines fire up]

After launching with the help of 27 Merlin engines, the rocket's three boosters will return for a landing attempt.

The two side boosters will land at Cape Canaveral Landing Zone 1 and 2 and the core will land on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. During the maiden flight, the third booster missed the drone ship, but the side boosters successfully separated and returned to Cape Canaveral in tandem.

The Feb. 6, 2018, test flight was a big deal on the Space Coast. More than 100,000 people came out to watch the 20-story-tall rocket's ascent.

Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral officials are also predicting heavy traffic near the Visitor Complex and at popular launch viewing locations for the second launch of Falcon Heavy.

Kennedy Space Center Protective Services officers will be enforcing restricted access around the launch attempt.

Tickets to watch the launch are still available through the Visitor Complex website starting at $75 per person. Ticket holders should be prepared to show their ticket information to security officers.

If you are traveling to Brevard or Volusia counties to watch the launch, here are some road closures and restrictions to be aware of, per the Kennedy Space Center and Port Canaveral.

Parking at Port Canaveral:

Heads-up if you plan on pulling over on the Beachline (State Road 528) or State Road 401( behind the cruise terminals): make a backup plan. No parking will be allowed on State Road 401 and on the State Road 528 median.

Due to cruise ships departing and arriving on launch day, visitors are asked to wait until 2 p.m. to park at the Port.

Parking will be limited around Port Canaveral on launch day to ease traffic congestion, and some roads will be closed to launch viewer parking.

No parking will be allowed at Exploration Tower. The venue is closed for a private event.

Parking is available on Mullet Drive to the north of the Exploration Tower. Drivers should exit on State Road 528 or A1A.

All parking is $15 and cash only. No cards will be accepted.

Click here for parking lot maps and exit plans at the Port.

The Titusville Police Department launch traffic enforcement detail will be out near the A. Max Brewer Causeway bridge and popular launch viewing locations in Titusville to mitigate some of the traffic.

Canaveral National Seashore and Playalinda Beach

The National Park will stay open until the Falcon Heavy launches even if it is after 8 p.m., park officials say.

Playalinda Beach will close either when it get's to capacity or when Kennedy Space Center closes the road at 1:30 p.m. Apollo Beach will close when it get's to capacity.

State Road 3 North at U.S. 1 in Volusia County, south to Playalinda Beach will be open to all motor vehicle traffic until capacity is reached, or at 5:30 p.m., whichever comes first, according to KSC officials.

"Come out early and prepare to be there all day," a post on the park's Facebook page said. "Bring all necessary provisions you may need. There are no concessions ... Food, Water, Chairs, Sunscreen, Towels, Umbrellas etc."

The park opens at 6 a.m.

Click here for more details.

Restricted access for Visitor Complex launch ticket holders and authorized personnel only:

  • NASA Causeway between U.S. 1 and Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Center.
  • State Road 3 from Gate 2 News Media Pass and Identification Building to NASA Causeway, including Space Commerce Way, will be closed to unauthorized vehicles.

A. Max Brewer Causeway bridge: Traffic crossing the bridge on S.R. 406 in Titusville east to Playalinda Beach Road, Canaveral National Seashore will be restricted.

According to Titusville police, the bridge will be open but once drivers get to the other side near Playalinda Beach they will be told to turn around. Drivers are also not allowed to park on the bridge.

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