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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Locals, tourists watch SpaceX launches from Cocoa Beach in Florida


 Locals and tourists gathered during a gorgeous sunset on the Cocoa Beach in Florida to watch the launch of the first of a new generation Starlink internet satellite.

On Monday, a SpaceX rocket called Falcon 9 launched 21 Starlink satellites from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The 21 satellites are “V2 mini” type, which are designed to fit onboard SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9.

The satellites headed toward orbit after sunset, about 5 hours later than originally planned, due to weather concerns. If everything went according to the plan, the satellites would be deployed 64.5 minutes after takeoff.

“I am here for the SpaceX rocket launch and excited to see it,” one of the attendees said, while sitting on her chair which she brought onto the beach to have a relaxed rocket show. “I was even at the Kennedy Space Center yesterday to see the Crew-6 launch but it did not happen. So I have to see something before I leave.”

On February 27 early morning, NASA’s Commercial Crew under SpaceX’s Crew-6 mission was supposed to be launched and land onto the International Space Station (ISS). The takeoff, however, was called off 2 minutes before the start. NASA later clarified that it was due to a ground system issue.

“I come here very often. It’s always a great view,” John said, who is one of the locals living nearby. “I also watched the Crew-6, which didn’t take off.”

While walking by on the beach, one could see many people with NASA, Artemis or SpaceX logos on their t-shirts or caps.

One can also see many painted pictures and motifs of space, astronauts and planets on everything around – starting from wallpapers in a coffee shop to utility boxes along the streets.

No surprise then, that this place is called the “rocket coast.” Even the NASA press center advises to watch the launches there for professional coverage.

At the moment, there are over 3,000 Starlink satellites and there are many more to come. Their primary goal is to provide internet in remote areas.

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