Where to watch in Volusia

Where to watch in Volusia
Where to watch in Volusia

NASA Starliner rocket launch will send 2 astronauts to the International Space Station no earlier than Friday, May 17, 2024.

Godspeed, Starliner. After an initial attempt earlier this month, Boeing’s maiden crewed flight is scheduled for later this week.

Boeing is preparing to launch its Starliner capsule on its first crewed mission from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. And Volusia County can get a peek at the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifting off into the sky.

What’s more, as of Tuesday, May 14, there’s a SpaceX Starlink launch with a Falcon 9 rocket scheduled the same day as the NASA Starliner launch − near Kennedy Space Center (details below on both launches).

On board the ULA Atlas V rocket will be two NASA astronauts. Flying this commercial crew mission are Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams, both Navy test pilots. They have each flown in space twice (more info about them below).

Daytona Beach is known for a lot of things: The Daytona 500, beautiful beaches and not to mention Bike Week. But did you know Volusia County is private to some amazing views of rocket launches from neighboring Brevard County, home to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station? Weather permitting and depending on cloud cover, rocket launches can be visible from here. We have suggestions on where and how to watch a rocket launch from Ormond Beach to Oak Hill below if you keep scrolling and information on the historic Starliner launch.

What is Boeing’s Starliner?

Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft will transport NASA astronauts. The company calls it the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner, or simply “Starliner.” Set to launch no earlier than Friday, May 17, 2024, it will make history as the first spacecraft to ferry humans from Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral. The launch pad has been the site for historic missions beginning with the Titan rockets in 1965 and including the New Horizons deep space probe, the Voyager spacecraft, and even the Curiosity Mars rover.

Starliner will be launched with the help of a United Launch Alliance (a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin) Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V rocket has launched from the site since 2002, but this will be the first time it carries astronauts to space.

What launches from where? Years after space shuttle retirement, Florida chases nearly 70 launches a year

Who are the NASA astronauts flying into space for Starliner launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida?

The two NASA astronauts flying this commercial crew mission are Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams. Both are Navy test pilots. They have each flown in space twice and both bring a wide variety of experiences to the flight.

Williams was originally a helicopter test pilot before switching to flying jets. She’s preparing to fly to space for the third time, as the crew test flight pilot.

This will be Wilmore’s third spaceflight as well. Before becoming a NASA astronaut, Wilmore was a US Navy captain, fighter pilot, and test pilot, accumulating more than 8,000 hours of flight time. Wilmore flew the FA-18 Hornet and T-45 Goshawk, playing a role in missions during Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Southern Watch.

Here’s what we know about the rocket launch missions, mentioned in FLORIDA TODAY’s rocket launch calendar for the month of May, which is updated frequently. (Check that link often for rocket launch times and dates because they are routinely subject to change for a variety of reasons.)

No earlier than Friday, May 17: NASA’s Boeing Starliner crewed flight test from Cape Canaveral, Florida

Friday, May 17: SpaceX Starlink

A National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency navigational warning indicates a 4½-hour launch window will open Friday, May 17, for SpaceX’s next Starlink mission from the Space Coast, shortly after the Starliner liftoff.

  • Assignment: A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch a batch of Starlink internet satellites.
  • Launch: 7:52 pm EDT Friday, May 17, until 12:01 am Saturday, May 18
  • Trajectory: Southeast
  • Local sonic boom: No
  • Booster landing: Drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean
  • Live coverage: If you want to watch live rocket launch coverage, FLORIDA TODAY’s Space Team will provide updates at floridatoday.com/space, starting about 90 minutes before launch time. You can download the free app for iPhone or Android or type floridatoday.com/space into your browser.

In Volusia County, immediately north of Brevard County — home to Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station — you can get a great view of a SpaceX, NASA or United Launch Alliance rocket launch.

The best views to watch a rocket launch from here is along the beach. Look due south. Readers have also mentioned seeing a rocket launch from New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach. Here are some recommended spots:

South New Smyrna Beach (Canaveral National Seashore), there may be parking costs. New Smyrna Beach features 17 miles of white sandy beaches. An eclectic and quaint beach town, despite its reputation as the “Shark Bite Capital of the World,” New Smyrna Beach has always been a haven for surfers who come for the waves.

Dinner and a launch: Perfect for a SpaceX or NASA rocket launch, best waterfront restaurants in Volusia County

Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, 6656 S. Atlantic Ave., New Smyrna Beach. Bethune Beach, which is 3.5 miles south of New Smyrna Beach and one mile north of the Apollo Beach entrance to Canaveral National Seashore Park, has restrooms, picnic pavilions, showers and nearly 800 feet of beachfront sidewalk, according to Volusia County’s site. The nearby riverside park area is across South Atlantic Avenue with tennis courts, pickle ball courts, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, fishing pier and restrooms. The river by the park can be a great viewing spot for manatees, dolphins and pelicans.

Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore (south of New Smyrna Beach). Canaveral National Seashore runs along Florida’s East Coast in Volusia County and Brevard County. To access Apollo Beach, take Interstate 95 to exit 249, then travel east until it turns into State Road A1A. Follow SR A1A south to the park entrance.

Oak Hill riverfront is the southernmost city in South Volusia County.

Sunrise Park275 River Road, Oak Hill

Goodrich’s Seafood and Oyster House back deck, 253 River Road, Oak Hill

Seminole Rest national historic site211 River Road, Oak Hill

Riverbreeze Park250 HH Burch Road, Oak Hill

Mary Dewees Park, 178 N. Gaines St., Oak Hill. Facilities include a rental building, playground, baseball field, basketball courts, tennis courts, outdoor restaurants, pavilions, picnic areas and grills.

Nancy Cummings, 232 Cummings St., Oak Hill. Facilities include a playground, baseball field, basketball courts, outdoor pavilion and restrooms.

Jimmie Vann Sunrise Park, 275 River Road, Oak Hill. This location has about 350 feet of beautifully restored shoreline, according to the city of Oak Hill online. Facilities include a pavilion, picnic tables and kayak launching facilities.

AC Delbert Dewees Municipal Pier, 243 River Road, Oak Hill. Facilities include a520-foot observation pier with two covered decks and seating, the city of Oak Hill site states.

Bird Observation Pier on River Road across from AC Delbert Municipal Pier (see above). Facilities include a 100-foot observation pier.

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or [email protected]. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1



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