Although the final launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour is just under 9 hours away if you want to watch it from the Space Coast you should be thinking of leaving very soon.
There have been many reports of the number of visitors expected to watch the launch ranging from 500,000 to 750,000 all in the relatively small area around Kennedy Space Center. That is a heck of a lot of people in such a small area. The worst thing will be getting in and out of Brevard County.
If at all possible try and avoid the SR528. For the launch of STS-133 Discovery by 10am the SR528 was a car park. The authorities did their best to keep traffic moving by removing the tolls, but the sheer volume of traffic just clogged the freeway.
The way to avoid it is by leaving as early as possible and taking an alternate. Last time coming from the west I found the SR532 quite clear then hit a little traffic as I passed the I95. Coming from Orlando you could try the SR50 or a bit further north the SR46.
Leaving early is also essential to get a good position to view the launch from. The parks along Washington Ave only have small parking lots and will fill up very quickly. Make sure that you have a couple of sites in mind to go to, consider going south to SR401 and watching over the river.
Be aware that many of the viewing sites have no facilities so make sure that you take lots of water, some shade, sunblock, food etc. Most of the viewing locations have either restrooms or some convenient bushes. If lack of facilities is an issue for you then check out our launch viewing site guide to find out what is available at each location.
For daylight launches it can often be a little difficult to work out where the launch pads are. It is quite interesting to hear the debates that occur when people are not really sure. Our iPhone KSC LAunch Pad App will point out the precise location, but failing that a good pair of binoculars and a steady hand will work well too.
Dont rely on being able to use your cellphone with so many people in the area the cell towers get swamped and it is almost impossible to get any data. If you can though the NASA App is a great way to keep up with what is going on. If you have a scanner then it may be possible to pick up a rebroadcast of the NASA commentary from Melbourne, but often the signal is too weak to pick up.
When it launches Endeavour will head east out over the Atlantic Ocean and you will be able to follow it with the naked eye for just over 2 minutes until the SRBs burn out and separate. The sound of the launch will hit you a long time after you see the shuttle rise above the swamps of Cape Canaveral, even at a distance of 12 miles there is still a very distinctive roar that you will never forget.
After the launch you have two options: get out very quickly or forget about getting home until the early hours of tomorrow and enjoy a meal and relax before heading off home. Last time I left KSC at 10pm 6 hours after the launch and still hit bad traffic on the SR528.
Above all relax and enjoy the unique experience!!!