tourists flock to Florida for the launch of the Moon rocket

tourists flock to Florida for the launch of the Moon rocket

tourists flock to Florida for the launch of the Moon rocket

Seeing a rocket fly to the moon is “a once in a lifetime thing to experience,” says Joanne Bostandji.

The 45-year-old traveled from northern England to Florida with her husband and two children for a space-themed vacation, and they’re ready to make sure they don’t miss a second of the action as NASA’s newest and most powerful rocket should be. first launched on Monday.

“The plan is to drive very early in the morning and find a spot,” in Cocoa Beach, he said, not far from the Kennedy Space Center.

“I know it will be a long way off, but I still think it will be a sight to behold,” Bostandji told AFP as the family waited to enter a park dedicated to space exploration.

Between 100,000 and 200,000 visitors are expected to attend the launch of the mission, called Artemis 1, which will push an empty capsule to the moon as part of a test for future manned flights.

The “historic nature” of Monday’s flight, the first of many with the US return to the moon, “has certainly increased public interest,” Meagan Happel of Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism told AFP. .

Traffic jams are expected to start by 4 am, with launch scheduled at 8:33 am (1233 GMT).

And even more people could show up if the launch gets weather delayed, as the makeup date falls on a weekend.

– Space cruise –

Sabrina Morley has managed to find a rented apartment not far from the beach and plans to take her two children and a few dozen other people on a boat chartered for the occasion from a company called Star Fleet Tours.

For $ 95 per ticket, “we will go into the ocean as close as possible to the launch and observe the launch from the boat,” he said.

“I’ve never been this close to a launch before,” said the 43-year-old, who grew up in Orlando, less than an hour away.

As a child, she could see space shuttles take off from her backyard, like “an orange smoke ball” rising into the sky.

“We could hear the sonic booms,” he recalled.

Morley likes that NASA’s Artemis program aims to land a woman on the moon for the first time, with a crew in charge as early as 2025.

“Impersonation is important,” he said, glancing at his two-year-old daughter, who is already wearing an astronaut helmet on her head.

– Good for business –

The return of prestigious space launches is an economic advantage for the region. A family of three will spend an average of $ 1,300 over four to five days, according to the tourism office.

On the main road to Merritt Island, the peninsula where Kennedy Space Center is located, Brenda Mulberry’s space memorabilia shop is packed with tourists.

As soon as they enter, visitors are greeted with Artemis t-shirts for sale, printed internally: 1,000 copies were made on Saturday alone.

The last few days have seen an influx of customers, Mulberry, who founded “Space Shirts” in 1984, told AFP.

“They’re just excited, I think I’m seeing a NASA launch because the private space business isn’t that motivating for people,” he said.

This rocket, called the SLS – a large model of which is displayed in front of its store – “belongs to the people,” Mulberry said.

“It’s their rocket. It’s not a SpaceX rocket,” he added.

There is an air of nostalgia for the Apollo rocket program: 50 years have passed since a manned mission last went to the moon, in 1972.

“My family had to go to the neighbor’s house to watch (the Apollo missions) because they didn’t have a television,” said Bostandji, who was not yet born.

“Now we’ll see, hopefully for real.”

the / caw / dhc

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.