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Thousands hoping to get tickets to watch NASA’s Artemis I Moon rocket launch briefly crashed into the site of the Kennedy Space Center visitor complex this week, but a quick fix helped sell out the closest viewing packages in a few hours.
Those looking for a close-up view of the first launch of the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket, scheduled to fly between August 29 and September 5, overwhelmed the site when tickets went on sale at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Two and a half hours later, the visitor pool said the two most expensive packages – out of a total of three – had sold out.
Rebecca Burgman, a spokeswoman for the visitor complex, confirmed that the technical issues caused by the request were quickly resolved.
“This is a historic mission and there was a huge amount of visits to the site when tickets became available at 11am on August 2,” Burgmann said. “There were initial delays at the ticket site which our team was able to quickly address.”
The first thing sold was “Feel the Heat,” a $250 ticket that includes the launch view from the Apollo Visitor Complex/Saturn V Center on KSC property. Viewing from the Saturn V rocket center is one of the only ways members of the public can view the launches from within the vicinity of the safe spaceport. This viewing spot is approximately 3.5 miles from Plate 39B, where Artemis I.
Next, the $150 “Feel the Fun” packages sold out. Those tickets include viewing from a specially designated outdoor area on the north side of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit. This spot is just outside NASA property but still much closer to the launch site than other publicly accessible areas. Its main advantage is that it includes a direct line of sight to the KSC with no buildings in the way.
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Those hoping for tickets are out of luck, Burgman said: Viewing from the main campus is still available for $99. Both “Feel the Fun” tickets are about 8 miles from the launch pad.
“We have several launch display sites for this launch including improved major complex display areas,” said Burgmann. “We are expecting thousands of guests for this special launch.”
Tickets come with additional benefits beyond take-off. Burgmann said there will be experiments and educational demonstrations by LEGO and Orion capsule maker Lockheed Martin. Guests will receive a commemorative launch card; A scavenger hunt that ends with a prize is organized as long as supplies last.
Tickets are available at kennedyspacecenter.com/launches-and-events.
Thousands of visitors to the visitor complex will join at least 100,000 spectators who are expected to cruise the space coast for the launch of the rocket for the first time. That number could be much higher, according to the Tourist Development Board, and many hotels have already sold out.
Currently, the Artemis I mission has strong chances of flying on August 29, September 2, or September 5. This will be the first flight for the SLS rocket and Orion capsule, both of which have been selected to take astronauts back to the moon’s surface sometime during this decade.
This specific mission is unmanned, but will spend weeks traveling to the Moon, flying into orbit, and then returning to Earth for a spray. The SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever to fly from the space coast.
For the latest information, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.