Maximize my chances for (watching) liftoff
September 14, 2019 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Currently planing a Florida vacation for April or May of next year. I would like to view a rocket launch while there. Any hints for choosing my exact vacation date?

I've been to Kennedy Space Center once before and the tour was really impressive. Unfortunately I've missed the opportunity to view a launch by a few days. So I'm familiar with the general information on this topic, as provided by the KSC Visitor Complex. I'm not set on watching a launch from the Visitor Complex; I'm aware that it will be visible from quite a distance.

I've already tabulated the data from for the last five years and found that the average number of launches for the two sites in question (CC, KC) in these two months are 1.7 per month. So the chances for experiencing a launch during a two week vacation are not stellar but certainly not hopeless. Also, apparently launches are more frequent on some days of the week than others.
So I guess what I'm asking: Are there any dates in May or April of next year were a launch would be statistically more or less likely? Are there any arcane technicalities, rules or regulations in place that favor certain dates?

Unfortunately I can't postpone the selection of my vacation dates for too long (transatlantic flight, multiple travellers, ...) so I can only base my decision on information that's available now.
posted by mirage pine to Travel & Transportation around Florida (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite has quite a few pointers to various launch sites. Cape Canaveral has three launches scheduled in April/May, and one from Kennedy on May 14.
posted by blob at 6:20 AM on September 14, 2019

SpaceX announced that it plans at least two launches per month in 2020. The reddit forum /r/spacex has a huge amount of up to the literal minute info. Unfortunately the one constant in launches is delay, so be flexible, optimize viewing location, but be ready to adjust plans.
posted by sammyo at 10:15 AM on September 14, 2019

Also, apparently launches are more frequent on some days of the week than others.

This part of your AskMe grabbed me. This is anecdata, but based on my experiences nobody likes to schedule a launch for a Friday because if your launch slips a day or two everybody is working on the weekend. Of course depending on your destination sometimes you have no choice but to launch at a certain date and/or time of day.
posted by Rob Rockets at 10:20 AM on September 14, 2019

I'm aware that it will be visible from quite a distance

Might be visible from quite a distance. This is hugely weather dependent. We're up in St Augustine, and on clear days we can see the launches perfectly, but if there's even a little cloudiness between us and KSC the rockets are impossible to see.
posted by saladin at 10:33 AM on September 14, 2019

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