Brevard County, United States - Polarsteps
Next to the Apollo/Saturn V Center is the Banana Creek viewing platform. This used to be a VIP area, but is now accessible for just 20 dollars which enables you to view an actual rocket launch from a prime location. Busses take you to the viewing platform when the Apollo center is already closed.
For the launch of a rocket, a so-called launch window is used. The rocket needs to be launched within this window, in order to get the payload where it needs to be in space. For space missions to the international space station, this launch window is 1 second, while for the launch of satellites, they often have more room since the satellite needs to end up somewhere above a certain country or continent.
The United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket was launched with the U.S. Air Force’s tenth Wideband Global SATCOM satellite, extending the reach of the military’s highest-capacity satellite communications network.
The launch window for this launch was roughly 2 hours. When we were getting closer to the T- 4 minutes mark, several problems were discovered which postponed the launch to eventually just 30 minutes before the end of the launch window. Everyone got pretty nervous when it got postponed several times and the end of the launch window came closer and closer, but luckily the launch went through.
Fun fact; The combined horsepower of this Delta IV rocket is 17 million and uses a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen engine to achieve this immense thrust.
Witnessing a launch from that close is something I will never forget. The excitement that builds up towards the launch, the sound (which you can feel) and view are incredible. Unfortunately I cannot post videos on Polarsteps, and the screenshots do not do justice by far, but believe me when I say that this was an amazing experience, I will always remember!
Florida Round Trip