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Steven S. Pietrobon April 2nd 04 12:01 AM

Unofficial Space Shuttle Launch Guide
Rev 1 May 2003

The following is the Unofficial Space Shuttle Launch Guide. This file
contains information on how to get a launch or landing pass, and if you can't
get one, where to view the shuttle for launch, re-entry or landing. This file
also contains the distances to the pads from the various viewing sites,
Shuttle frequencies, HAM frequencies for listening to and watching NASA
select, hints on photographing launches, where to watch SSME test firings,
how to get accredited as a Press Personage, internet sites to get additional
NASA information, how to get the latest two line element sets, and
information for teachers on how to access NASA information.

Please send changes, updates, or information you think should be in this to:

Steven S. Pietrobon, Small World Communications, 6 First Avenue
Payneham South SA 5070, Australia fax +61 8 8332 3177

Shuttle Manifest
================ (Unofficial
Manifest) (NASA KSC manifest) (NASA manifest)

Shuttle Launch Guides
===================== (Unofficial Guide) (NASA KSC guide) (NASA guide) (KSC Visitor Complex) (NASA HQ Launch Guide) (Dana Rodakis' Launch Guide) (Unofficial Press Kits) (NASA Press Kits) (Official Press Kits)

Shuttle Launch Records
====================== (Unofficial Record) (NASA KSC Record)

Other Shuttle Information
========================= (launch images) (launch status) (map of KSC area) (NASA Shuttle Web) (NASA KSC Shuttle Countdown) (MSFC Mission Operations) (MSFC science) (NASA ARC Shuttle Team Online) (KSC Visitor Complex)

For the latest and greatest information call the following:

(321) 867 4636 - Recorded manifest of anticipated launch dates.
(321) 867 0600 - Recorded launch status during countdown.
(321) 867 2525 - Space shuttle launch preparations.
(321) 867 3900 - Space shuttle status line. Technical, lots of TLA's. Just
remember, we warned you.
(321) 867 2468 - Cape Press Site ) thanks to Max White
(321) 494 5933 - USAF Public Affairs Office )
1 800 572 4636 - Visitor Information Center information and next launch.
1 800 KSC INFO - Florida 1 800 number. Florida only information thanks to
Richard F. Jones

ELV Manifests
For Expendable Launch Vehicle Manifests check out (Unoffical US Commercial) (Unoffical US Military) (KSC mixed fleet) (JPL Space Calender) (Florida Today) (Vandenberg 30th Space Wing) (FL 45th Space Wing) (VAFB) (US Dept. of Transport) (NASDA, Japan) (Ariane)

Causeway Site Passes
Thanks to , Mark and Julie Bixby
, Christopher A. Poterala ,
Michael Borthwick , Ned Forrester
, and others.

You can view shuttle launches right from the base at the NASA Causeway Site
which is about 10 km from the launch pad.

Causeway passes are no longer available to the general public. However, if you
know someone at NASA, you can be nominated by them. You will need to give the
names of all the people attending the launch with you, your affiliation, and
your mail address to your nominator. Non-US citizens also need to give your
citizenship, date and place of birth, and your passport number to your
nominator. If approved, the pass is then mailed to you.

Only those selected will be notified by mail. The passes will then be mailed to
the recipient's address approximately three weeks prior to the launch. Only one
request per person will be honored. Only one pass will be issued per request.
If you will be leaving your residence before the pass will reach you, give the
address in Florida where you will be staying, as well as your home address.

It is recommended that you be at one of the KSC entry gates at least two hours
before launch as traffic can become quite heavy. The launch pass is good for
that launch no matter how many times it is postponed.

The KSC Visitor Complex (run by Delaware North Park Services) offers bus
rides from the Visitor Complex to the Causeway Site. The cost is $30 for a
launch transportation ticket (LTT). A viewing package ticket is $51.50 for an
adult and $41.50 for children aged 3 to 11.

LTT tickets are usually available for the next two shuttle missions from the
KSC Visitor Complex (open seven days a week from 9am to 5pm, except launch
days). Call the Visitor Complex at (321) 449 4444 or email

if you have any questions. The buses leave from the Visitor Complex and bring
you back there after the launch. You get to hang out at the Visitor Complex
before and after, so you can skip a lot of the traffic. Tickets have to be
bought up ahead of time at the Visitor Complex or you can order them online at

A view of where you will be taken can be seen at

Other Viewing Recommendations and
============================= others)
If you can't get a launch pass I suggest you come to Titusville. Go east on
State Road 50 from I-95, to US-1. Go north on US-1 to the "Miracle City Mall"
at Harrison. Park somewhere north of this spot. Anywhere north along highway
1, or east (as far as you can) along highway 406 (402) is good (specifically
Sand Point Park), just as long as you can see the VAB and don't have trees
blocking the view. If you can afford it, just pay the $10 to park in
someone's yard along the river. Also you can try Jetty Park at Port Canaveral
(you will be south of the launch looking north).

You can go to the Visitor Center the day on the launch and watch from their
obstructed view. The only problem with this one is that they close the
Visitor Center 5 or 6 hours before the launch and about an hour after, so you
have to stay at the visitor center for at least 6 hours.

Regardless of where you are going to see it, arrive early (at least 2 hours
before launch). Be prepared to get into some real heavy traffic, it will also
take some time to get out of the area. Bring along some food and drink,
umbrellas, sun glasses, sun screen, portable TV/radio, binoculars, VCR,

When watching a launch, listen to FM Station 91.5 (it is a local religious
station) or AM 580 out of Orlando (Thanks to Matthew DeLuca). NASA Select
Television is carried on Spacenet 2, transponder 5, channel 9, 69 degrees
West, transponder frequency is 3880 MHz, audio subcarrier is 6.8 MHz,
polarization is horizontal.

TV: Local stations such as channels 56, 2, 6 & 9 sometimes have live
coverage. They usually just interrupt the program that is in progress for the
final 2 minutes of prelaunch, and then a couple of minutes after launch. Same
for landing.

Radio: Some local radio stations to listen to are 91.5 FM, 99.3 FM, 101.1 FM,
1350 AM and 580 AM.

Hints for First-Time Launch Attendees
This section offers hints and advice for those attending a shuttle launch for
the first time. Included are tips on
- what launches to attend,
- obtaining launch passes,
- when to arrive for a launch, and
- where to stay.

For the first time shuttle launch viewer, I'd say that you should choose
your launch wisely. For instance, if you are travelling half way around the
country (or world), don't plan too heavily on seeing a launch that has just a
6 minute launch window. Instead, pick one that has a long 2.5 hour window if
possible. That increases the odds that you'll actually see it go up.
Secondly, if you are viewing the launch from the NASA Causeway, wait for a
launch from Pad A. It is significantly closer than Pad B is. Thirdly, your
odds at seeing a launch may be better for early morning (e.g., near sunrise)
launches than for launches at other times of the day or night. There are
several reasons for this: at sunrise at KSC, the TAL sites are still in
daylight; the winds are usually lighter in the morning; and the sea breeze,
which can bring clouds and rain showers over the space center, has not yet
had time to begin.

Regardless of where you are viewing the launch from, secure your launch pass
as early as possible. Most, if not all, of the various types of passes are
definitely a finite resource, and are given out on (more or less) a first
come, first served basis. You should begin acquiring your launch pass or
passes two to three months before the launch date. Elsewhere in this guide
you will find information on the different types of launch viewing passes.
Many people choose to view a launch from the shore in Titusville, but there
is really no reason not to get a closer view.

When going to view the launch, arrive on-site as early as possible. The
center opens for viewing site traffic about 4 hours prior to a launch, and
with good reason. The traffic can be quite heavy in the hours leading up to a
launch, and the last thing you want to do is to get to the viewing site late
(or not at all). Additionally, the KSC gates will close about one hour prior
to launch to clear the roads for emergency traffic, so if you're late, you
may be out of luck. Also, do not arrive at a KSC gate before they are open
for viewing site traffic. Although other traffic is allowed through, you will
be turned away by the KSC police even if you're a minute early.

Another bit of advice for a first time launch viewer is to not focus too
heavily on taking lots of photographs. The event happens so quickly that
before you know it it's over and you may realize that you viewed the whole
thing with one eye closed and the other stuck in your viewfinder. I've
attended some launches where my primary goal was to take pictures or video,
and others where I just stood there and watched it go up without worrying
about pictures. I have to say that I enjoyed the latter much more, but the
tradeoff is that I had fewer pictures to take home.

There are many hotels to choose from in the Kennedy Space Center area:

Cocoa Beach
Best Western Cocoa Inn 321 632 1065
Cape Colony Resort 321 783 2252
Cocoa Beach Oceanside Inn 321 784 3126
Crossways Condominium 321 784 5331
Crossways Inn Resort 321 783 2221
Days Inn Oceanfront 321 783 7621
Discovery Beach 321 784 2550
Hilton 321 799 0003 & 1 800 526 2609
Holiday Inn 321 783 2271 & 1 800 HOLIDAY
Howard Johnsons 321 783 9481 & 1 800 654 2000
Motel 6 321 783 3103
Ocean Landing 321 783 9430
Ocean Suite Hotel 321 784 4343
Wakulla Motel 321 783 2230

Merritt Island
Holiday Inn Merritt Island 321 452 7711

Cape Canaveral
Radisson Resort at the Port 321 784 0000
Canaveral Towers 321 784 1130
Royal Mansions Resort 321 784 8484

Best Western Space Shuttle 321 269 9100
Days Inn 321 269 9310
Holiday Inn (riverfront) 321 269 2121
Howard Johnson (waterside) 321 267 7900
Quality Inn 321 269 4480
Ramada Inn 321 269 5510

Reserve your room well in advance--at least 5 or 6 weeks prior to the launch
date. Hotel rooms have been known to fill up quite rapidly.

Distances to Pads

viewing site Pad A (km) Pad B (km)

Press Site 4.9 5.5
Barge Turn Basin 4.9 5.5
VIP/Family Site 6.2 5.3
Static Test Road 8.1 10.1
NASA Causeway (west end) 9.8 11.7
NASA Causeway (mid point) 10.6 12.6
NASA Causeway (east end) 11.4 13.6
KSC Visitor Center 12.1 13.0
closest point in Titusville 19.2 18.1

Internet Access for Visitors to KSC (Jerry Russell, )
Any visitors to KSC that would like to have Internet access to get their
mail, stay in touch, are welcome to stop by our Network Control Center in
Cocoa, Fl. and get online free! If you have a computer with you we will give
you a FREE guest account for 24 hours, menu based (text) account with full
Internet access. We are a commercial provider here in Cocoa, but offer this
service to our visitors as a FREE service and encourage you to use it!
FLORIDA ONLINE, 3815 N US 1, #59, Cocoa FL 32926, (321) 635 8888 voice,
635 8833 DOS BBS, 633 4710 FLORIDA ONLINE, 635 9050 fax.

Shuttle Frequencies
The Space Shuttle transmits on three frequency bands: UHF, S-Band, and
Ku-Band. The UHF frequencies are simple AM voice and are very easy to copy.
These frequencies are used for launch and landing operations, EVA operations,
and as an additional voice downlink when other channels are in use for the
current ground station has no S-Band capability.

The frequencies in use a
296.800 MHz : Air-to-ground, or Orbiter to suit
259.700 MHz : Air-to-ground, or suit to Orbiter
279.000 MHz : Suit-to-Orbiter, or suit-to-suit
243.000 MHz : Standard military aircraft emergency frequency

The S-Band system is one of the primary Orbiter downlink bands. The voice
channels are digital slope delta modulated and are multiplexed in with the
rest of the Orbiter telemetry and is very difficult to copy. Much of the
downlink TV is on S-Band also, but is wideband FM and should be easy to copy.
The frequencies a

2287.500 MHz - Primary digital downlink
2250.000 MHz - Wideband FM with either main engine analog telemetry during
launch, or TV during orbit operations.

The Ku-Band system is used in conjunction with the tracking and data relay
satellites and is used much more heavily in Spacelab flights than in others.
The data rate is very high (50 Mbit/s). These transmissions are directed
to TDRS satellites in geostationary orbit on a frequency of 15.003 GHz.

(Information via WA3NAN, and WA4SIR)

Ed Sileo ) says that Shuttle audio can be heard on 169.4
MHz at Edwards Air Force Base (EAFB). The transmitter site is on Lehman Ridge
on the east side of Edwards near the Astronautics Lab. This can be heard
during all flights since you never know when the shuttle may land at EAFB.

Shuttle Audio Retransmissions
Excerpt from the Goddard Amateur Radio Club (GARC) Shuttle Retransmission
Fact Sheet (from Jim Blackwell, N3KWU,

Retransmission of Shuttle air-to-ground audio from the GARC (WA3NAN) may be
heard on the following frequencies:

Frequency Mode Antennas
3.860 SSB LSB N-S/E-W Dipoles
7.185 SSB LSB N-S/E-W Dipoles
14.295 SSB USB 3-element Yagi
21.395 SSB USB 5-element Yagi
28.650 SSB USB 4-element Yagi
147.45 FM Simplex Phased vertical

Where SSB is Single-Side-Band and LSB, USB indicate either Lower and Upper
Side Band. A short-wave receiver possessing a Beat Frequency Oscillator (BFO)
is needed to receive these transmissions.

GARC maintains a Bulletin Board System (BBS) which is accessible by way of
the Internet, modem and packet radio. The BBS contains areas with information
on the club, mail distributed by the Amateur Satellite Corporation BB
(AMSAT-BB) listserver, SAREX bulletins and Space Shuttle mission information.
During Shuttle missions, users can also access Keplerian Orbital Elements
(Keps) which are generated by the club based on information generated by
NASCOM at GSFC (these orbital elements are read over-the-air by our
volunteer operators). The BBS is accessible by the following means:

1. Internet: telnet to (
2. Telephone: (301) 286-4137 (up to 14.4 kbaud supported)
3. Packet Radio: WA3NAN on 145.090 MHz in DC area.

Just follow the login instructions. Note: Full access to the BBS is limited
to members of the club.

GARC also maintains a WWW Server containing a wide variety of information
about the club, its activities, as well as links to other Amateur Radio
resources. The URL address is:

Excerpt from FAQ Part 3 (modified):

Shuttle audio is re-tranmitted by the following Amature Radio stations.

Station Centre VHF 10m 15m 20m 40m 80m
K6MF ARC 145.585 7.165 3.840
W1AW ARRL 147.555 28.0675 21.0675 18.0975 14.0475 7.0475 3.5815 1.818
WA3NAN GSFC 147.450 28.650 21.395 14.295 7.185 3.860
W6VIO JPL 224.080 21.280 14.282 7.165
W5RRR JSC 146.640 28.495 21.350 14.280 7.227 3.850
AK8Y LERC 145.670 or 147.195 (alternate)
WB4FUR SSC 146.700
KA9SZX 146.880 (Video at 426.250)
K4GCC 146.940
WA4VME 145.170

You might also try 20192 LSB which is NASA.

All frequencies are in MHz. Use FM on VHF, USB on 10-20m, LSB on 40-80m.
W1AW - ARRL, Newington, CT (news bulletins, 9:45 PM and 12:45 AM EST)
K6MF - NASA Ames Research Center (ARC), Moffett Field, CA
WA3NAN - NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD
W6VIO - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, CA
W5RRR - NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC), Houston, TX
AK8Y - NASA Lewis Research Center (LERC), Cleveland, OH
WB4FUR - NASA Stennis Space Center (SSC), Hancock County, MS
KA9SZX - Champaign-Urbana, IL
K4GCC - John Anderson, Titusville, FL (near or at Kennedy Space Center)
WA4VME - Melbourne, FL (near or at Kennedy Space Center)

You can also go to

for a listing of repeaters in the USA that offer this service.

Retransmissions of Shuttle audio on amature radio frequencies

State City Date Reported Frequencies (MHz)
----- ---------------- ------------- -------------------------
AL Birmingham 10/10/89 145.150 145.380
AL Huntsville 12/31/92 147.100 173.025
AR Russellville 3/24/92 439.250
AZ Phoenix 12/9/91 421.250 449.000
CA Los Angeles 1/7/90 52.640 224.940
CA Los Angeles 12/21/89 1241.250
CA Los Angeles 12/4/91 145.320 145.460 445.400
CA Los Angeles 12/4/91 445.425 446.575 447.000
CA Los Angeles 12/4/91 447.025 447.400 447.475
CA Los Angeles 12/4/91 448.375 448.500
CA Monterey Bay 7/1/91 145.585 443.300
CA Mount Wilson 10/18/95 224.940
CA Northern 3/19/90 145.530
CA Redondo Beach 9/23/93 145.32 W6TRW
CA Sacramento 4/10/91 147.195
CA San Diego 3/23/92 449.450 1277.25
CA San Francisco 4/29/91 427.250 444.775
CA San Joaquin Vly 5/6/89 52.22
CA Santa Barbara 4/21/90 1277.000
CO Boulder 1/5/96 145.460 (NASA select audio)
CO Colorado Springs 1/5/96 145.160 (NASA select audio)
CO Denver 1/5/96 147.225 224.980 (NASA select audio)
DC Washington 11/28/83 147.450 (Greenbelt, MD)
FL Cape Canaveral 10/11/89 146.940
FL Clearwater 2/15/97 145.23
FL Clearwater Beach 4/10/95 442.075
FL Daytona Beach 1/25/92 147.150
FL Fort Lauderdale 12/03/93 442.650
FL Jacksonville 4/25/90 147.12
FL Lakeland 7/18/92 147.375
FL Largo 4/24/95 51.84
FL Largo 4/10/95 421.25 (video & audio)
FL Orlando 5/8/92 147.150
FL Port Richey 1/2/96 443.950
FL Sarasota 2/15/97 442.55
FL St. Petersburg 1/2/96 147.285 443.625
FL Vero Beach 4/19/90 145.130
Fl North Lauderdale 12/03/93 145.750
GA Ashburn 5/5/89 147.285
GA Atlanta 12/4/91 146.655 147.345 427.250
GA Forsyth 6/7/90 147.915
IA Cedar Rapids 10/18/89 146.400 444.300
IL Champaign-Urbana 11/30/93 146.880
IL Chicago 4/19/90 145.350
IL Downers Grove 9/23/93 145.350
IL Morton Grove 12/7/93 145.350
IL Rolling Meadows 2/12/92 145.350
IN Indianapolis 3/15/92 426.250
ME Portland 12/16/89 146.925
ME York 12/16/89 224.840
MN Central 2/19/90 149.200
MN Twin Cities 3/11/89 145.150 147.120
MN Waseca 1/2/90 147.450 427.250
MO Gladstone 12/7/93 224.660
MO Kansas City 3/25/92 145.430 426.250
MO St. Louis 1/25/92 442.000
NJ Central 7/5/92 443.400 (PL 141.3)
NJ Northern 12/12/93 146.610
NY Albany 9/6/91 146.820
NY Long Island 3/30/92 448.425
OH Dayton 5/4/89 145.110
OH Greenville 3/11/90 146.790
OK Tulsa 2/6/92 144.340 146.940 421.250
PA Pittsburgh 6/25/92 145.470
PA Pittsburgh 9/23/93 145.650
SC Orangeburg 12/3/93 146.805
SD Watertown 1/14/92 145.550
TX Dallas 7/18/90 145.310 448.750
TX Dallas 9/13/91 146.600
TX Houston 6/27/92 146.640
WI Wausau 9/5/91 146.820 147.060 421.250
VA Norfolk Feb 1993 144.340 431.750 FM audio, 427.250 video

Thanks to Dana Rodakis ) and Gary Grahn (WA1TSS,

Amateur TV Repeater of NASA Select
Chris Best ) writes:

I belong to a local ham radio club called the Launch Information Service and
Amateur Television System (LISATS for short). We operate, in the Cocoa
Florida area, an Amateur TV Repeater where we, during shuttle missions,
re-broadcast NASA Select (from a satellite receiver located at the repeater
site). We also have a computerized bulletin board (VIDEO) at the repeater
site which cycles through screens of interest to hams, one being a projected
launch schedule (shuttle and expendable). The LISATS repeater can be viewed
by anyone with an outside antenna and a cable ready TV in the launch area.
Please checkout:

The two primary points of contact for LISATS are myself (ham radio callsign
N4KCI) or Ernie Baldini , K4RBD) who is the prefered
Amateur TV expert.

Photographing Shuttle Launches
The following link gives detailed information on shuttle launch photography

has some hints for photographers:

Get the longest lens available (e.g. rent one at Helix). I used a 300mm
shooting from Titusville and was still too far away to clearly see the
shuttle. However I could take beautiful shots of the engine's firetrail and
the smoke.

Put your camera into continuous shooting mode (unless you have a VERY high
speed camera like a Nikon), as the whole spectacle will be over within no
time. I shot about 1 roll of film (36 pictures) until the shuttle was gone
for good while almost constantly pressing the button.

Use a LOW speed film (ASA 50) as the light is so bright (Remember: NASA
launches only under good weather conditions), that even with a long tele lens
you still have enough light left for short exposure times (I had 1/1000 with
F 5.6 and a Kodachrome 64). That way making detail enlargements is also
easier, meaning less grainy.

Try to AVOID a tripod, as the shuttle moves "upwards to the right" (at least
from Titusville with the standard 28 degree inclination). You are more
flexible if you use a onepod or even better one of those professional
harnesses, that you wear like a jacket and that support your long lens (like
a tripod attached to your upper body).

During the night before the launch you can see (at least sometimes) a search
light illuminating the launch pad. With a tripod and a very long exposure
time ( 20 sec's on Kodachrome 64) you'll get nice pictures as well. Make
several shots with different times according to general night time
photography rules.

A final hint for the early-birds: I was lucky enough to see the big and red
glowing sun rising exactly behind the VAB (from the US1 in Titusville). An
incredible view, that didn't even require a tripod.

Jim Blackwell ) and Todd L. Sherman
) has these hints:

I can also say something about photographing night launches. Basically, for
STS-61 and STS-67 I used 1000 ASA film and shot at 1/1000 th of a second at
F/8. For STS-61 I was at the VIP site at 5.3 km and used a 70-210 mm zoom at
the 210mm setting. For STS-67, I was at the NASA Causeway (about 10 km I
think) using a 500 mm f/8 lens. Got great shots in both instances. I used
Kodak Royal Gold (used to be Ektar) 1000 ASA film. I would also advise anyone
to remove any filters they may have on their lenses as they can get nasty
internal reflections and that a good, sturdy, well-built tripod is a must,
especially with the 500 mm. Even footsteps from other persons nearby can be
amplified by the tripod if it's not a good one. I also used a cable release
and a motor winder on the camera.

Todd L. Sherman ) has these hints on doing time exposures
of night launchers from afar:

I can tell you that you should give yourself say a half hour ahead of the
launch to get yourself set up and ready, with camera pointing in the
direction the shuttle is expected to come up above the horizon. Make sure the
camera is on a good, sturdy (as sturdy as possible) tripod, and make sure
you're as far away from other people as possible because even thier walking
around can cause vibrations that the tripod can pick up and exaggerate.

Set the shutter speed dial on [b]ulb and connect a length of cable release to
the button. When you see the first hint of glow rising, open the shutter and
hold it open with a cable release until the SRBs burn out, then close the
shutter. You now have a time exposure of the launch. What you should see upon
developing is a long, bright trail starting at the horizon and curving
upwards into the sky as the shuttle rises. You'll also get some minor
trailing of the stars. Make sure your position is as dark as possible with no
nearby city lights in the direction the camera will be looking or you will
get some sky "fog" which may ruin the shot. If it's partly cloudy, try taking
the shot anyway. You never know what might happen. There may be breaks in the
clouds through which the SRB contrail may show through, providing an
interesting shot, still.

Don't forget to put your photo up on the web! Then tell us where to find the
photos in one or more of the space-related newsgroups, so that we can all
`ooh and aww' at them! You'll also want to tell us how you made the shot...
film speed, aperture setting, shutter speed, lens size, camera used, sky
conditions, and direction of light.

Most-likely, from your own city's location, you won't be able to see any
detail of the shuttle or it's outline (especially here in Gainesville, 145 km
away from KSC). You'd need a telescope for that and, besides... you'll be too
busy concentrating on your exposure to have a look.

If you have any filters on your camera, though...take them off for a
nighttime shot. These things only happen once in a long while, and you're
only going to get one try (unless you're gifted with a large budget and can
afford an arsenal of other cameras). You don't want the chance of internal
glare or reflections ruining your shot.

And chain little Jimmy to a stake permanently out of your camera's field of
view. You don't want him jumping or standing in front of the camera and
ruining the shot, either.

Expendable Vehicles
These are usually launched from the southern part of the base, best viewing
is at Jetty Park or south along the beaches of Cape Canaveral and Cocoa
Beach. Not as crowded as shuttle launches, but still give yourself some time
to arrive early. Jetty park can fill up so plan an alternate. Again bring
your stuff.

You can also watch expendable vehicle launches at the KSC Visitor Complex
from the LC39 Obversation Gantry on the KSC tour. Tickets go on sale
approximately four days before launch.

Philip Chien ) wrote:

For the Delta launches at the Cape the press site is actually within the
Impact Limit Lines (about 1.5 km from the pad), but the press is considered
part of the launch team, so we're there under an exemption as launch
critical personnel. There are discussions underway to move the press site
to the Trident turn basin at the south end of the Cape, not that far from
the publicly accessible areas. About the only advantage to that site is
you have a straight line of sight to the Atlas, Delta, and LMLV launch pads.

The VIP viewing site for Deltas and Atlases is located in the middle of the
Cape, close to the 'skid strip' about twice as far from the launch pads.
It also has the disadvantage of obstructions in the way, primarily trees.

Landing Information
Unfortunately the KSC landing strip cannot accommodate a "viewing public"
because it is situated on wetlands, however


If you do happen to try and view the landing at KSC, do not despair when you
realize actually how far away US 1 is from the runway. Even a moderately
powered set of field glasses will provide good views of the Orbiter as is
decelerates into the KSC area. That twin sonic boom is very unique and, for
me, was well worth the drive by itself. You will actually be able to see the
Orbiter as it comes into the KSC area and turns on the heading alignment
circle better than during the final approach.

Don Diego ) and others also suggest:

The best viewing site for the Shuttle landings is the Shuttle Landing
Facility (SLF) Mid-Point. There are bleachers available about 140-180 metres
from the runway. What a great spot. Not only is it the best possible viewing
site, you get to hob knob with astronauts and VIP's. VIP invitations now sent
out by NASA headquarters are for launches or landings (see following section on
VIP passes). Other passes from NASA may also invite you to the landing if you
are a shuttle worker or involved with the payload. Unless you have very good
connections, the general public cannot have access to the SLF.

As with the launch facilities NASA Select audio is provided on site as are
restroom facilities and vending areas run by NASA.

For a realistic spot there's really only one choice. On US1 in Titusville
across the Indian River from KSC. Hope it's not early in the morning,
otherwise, you're going to be facing directly into the sunrise. I've tried on
several occasions to try to catch a glimpse of the orbiter coming in as I was
in Cocoa Beach or the city of Cape Canaveral but you're just too far away.

Whether you get lucky enough to get on KSC or have to settle for the US1 site
you're in for a real treat. A landing is every bit as exciting as a launch.
During a launch it's Boom, Zoom and in two minutes it's gone. But with a
landing you have time to soak it all in. The key is picking it up visually as
soon as possible. The thing to remember is at 15,000 metres (50,000 feet) the
orbiter can be seen directly over the landing sight. Look straight up and
watch for the puffs of smoke coming from the Reaction Control System (RCS)
jets. Once you pick those up you should have no difficulty following it
around the HAC and all the way down. Contrary to popular belief the thing
doesn't land silently. When you've got an object that big and bulky cutting
through the air at that velocity you get a wind rushing noise that has to be

US1 in Titusville can be accessed from SR50 from Orlando or I-95 from the
North or South. Local radio stations that have the best NASA coverage for any
NASA related event are WMMB AM 1240 or 99.3 FM. Prior to any operation events
can be followed locally on TV channels 2, 6 or 9. Or pick up a copy of the
local newspaper The Florida Today. Some hotels in the area also carry NASA

Kim Keller writes:

It is amazing that a vehicle as large as the orbiter would be hard to see
landing, but it is! Here are some tips. The orbiter approaches KSC from
either the northwest or the west, depending on the orbital inclination. As it
enters the vicinity of KSC, its altitude is somewhere between 12 to 15 km. It
will look like an airliner at high altitude, if you are fortunate enough to
catch sight of it before it enters the heading alignment circle. Sometimes,
you may catch sight of short contrails as the aft RCS thrusters are used to
assist the rudder in steering the vehicle. They are the best clue to catching
sight of the vehicle at high altitude, but they are unreliable; you may or
may not see them. I start looking in earnest for the vehicle when I hear the
PAO announcer say the vehicle is approaching Titusville. At that point it's
helpful to know which direction the orbiter is approaching from. Generally,
if it's returning from a high inclination orbit, it'll approach from the
northwest. If it was a low inclination orbit, look to the west. As it flies
over the runway, it's still at high altitude, and will begin a turn around
the heading alignment circle. The direction of the turn depends on the runway
direction the orbiter will use. The turn takes it out over the Atlantic.

KSC has one runway, referred to by two numbers: 15 and 33. These are
abbreviations for compass headings of 150 and 330. 150 runs from northwest
to southeast, 33 is just the opposite. The PAO announcer will have announced
much earlier which runway will be used. This will determine where the best
place to view the landing would be. If runway 15 will be used, your options
are limited. You will need to be in Titusville to see the final approach.
There is a park on the edge of the Indian River at Route 407 which gives the
best view of the area of the runway, but you won't see the runway itself. It
is about 8 km from the park. When the orbiter touches down you will lose
sight of it, except perhaps for a view of the tail. It depends on how high
the trees have grown!

If runway 33 is in use, you have more options. The best place to view is from
the parkway near the KSC Industrial Area. You can take some excellent
pictures from this spot. This is just past the KSC Visitor Center. If you are
in this area, the orbiter will pass from right to left. As it approaches, you
will be able to hear it. The airflow over the structure and the sound of the
APUs combine to make it sound like a powered jet. You will also see one of
the Shuttle Training Aircraft flying loose formation off to one side. It will
disappear from view to the north as it reaches the runway threshold. Other
viewing spots for a 33 landing are the Beeline Expressway between Merritt
Island and Cape Canaveral, or along the Indian River at Titusville.

Shuttle Re-entry Flyovers
For an example of a shuttle entry plasma trail photo go to

Todd L. Sherman ) has these suggestions about viewing and
photographing shuttle re-entry flyovers:

You'll first need to go to the "Sightings" section of the NASA Shuttle Web
site ("http://shuttle") a day or two before actual landing and
look at the sightings list. The top part will be for viewing the shuttle over
your own city while on orbit. Keep scrolling on down and you'll come to the
REENTRY sightings list. This list will list many cities along the incoming
flight path and offers appearance and disappearance azimuths, maximum
heights, approximate times post-max-alt that the sonic boom should be heard,
etc. (I'm trying to convince them to post, from now on, data for the
ALTERNATE landing opportunites as well. Up till now, they've been posting
only for op #1, which is nearly always waved off and, never updated once that

I've tried to catch the shuttle as it flies over Gainesville but have always
been clouded out whenever it happens and I've got a camera in hand. Thus, I
can't offer any working experience there, either...shutter speeds, apertures,
film brands and speeds. Sorry. This part is a mystery I never see covered,
and it would be nice if someone who HAS tried it before would offer his or
her own experiences for others like me.

Edwards Landing Passes
For a landing pass at Edwards, Mary Shafer )
says: (Steve Handler ) advises us: The Public Affairs Office
at Dryden Flight Research Center says that there are no landings scheduled in
1995 for Edwards and thus they are not giving out any landing passes at this
time. They also indicated that the ability to see landings at Edwards is via
the courtesy of the Air Force.)

There are three ways to see the Shuttle landing at Edwards AFB, listed in
order of restrictiveness of access and availability.

1. The East Shore area on the lakebed. Take Hwy. 14 to Avenue F and follow
the signs or take Hwy. 58 to 20 Mule Team Road and follow those signs. This
area is opened about 2 days before the scheduled touchdown. The viewing area
is an unimproved area so don't expect many amenities. I think that there are
sanitary facilities and that food and drinks can be purchased. It's
suggested that you bring food and water. Nothing is required for access to
this area. If any viewing is allowed this site will be open. The only times
they don't open it is for the DoD's classified missions.

Burns Fisher ) says the view you get depends
on exactly what course the shuttle comes in on. If the shuttle lands on the
ascending node of its orbit you only see the shuttle coming straight in and
landing in front of you...but not too close. For a descending node landing
the view is much more spectacular as you see the shuttle turning and passing
right above you (described by Burns as "a *gorgeous* sight!").

2. The hillside viewing area. This is on the hillside, just above
Ames-Dryden, and requires a special pass. This pass is good for one vehicle,
with any number of passengers. You can't enter the Ames-Dryden complex but
you can walk down the hill to the cafeteria and the gift shop, etc. More
amenities, including radio transmissions from the Shuttle and JSC. Some of
us believe that this area has the BEST view of the landing. I believe that
the Hillside, like the East Shore, is open for all unclassified missions.
These passes can be obtained by writing, as detailed below. Ames-Dryden
employees can also obtain them.

3. Official guest. Access to the Ames-Dryden complex. You get to watch the
landing from the ramp, which is right on the lakebed. (The Shuttle lands
some distance away, depending on which runway it uses.) The crew speaks to
the crowd just before they return to JSC. There are special aircraft
displays (including the SR-71, F-15, F-18, X-29, etc.) in the hangars. The
radio transmissions are broadcast. This method is only predicted for a few
missions this year. Opening the Facility is fairly labor-intensive and very
disruptive, so we won't do it for every possible mission.

You can write, as detailed below, to obtain these badges and parking permits.
To obtain a hillside pass or official guest badges, write to:

NASA Ames-Dryden Flight Research Facility
Public Affairs Office
P.O. Box 273
Edwards CA 92523-5000

Do this early, because there is a limited amount of space. If you get these
and then discover that you can't attend, please try to pass them on to
someone else who can use them. Incidentally, there is _no_ charge for any of

Come see the Shuttle land--it's great. Wear warm clothes!

If the Shuttle lands in the morning, it will be cool to downright cold.
Forget the myth that the desert is always hot, it may be in the low 60s even
in the summer at sunrise. It's frequently freezing in the winter. If it's
much warmer, it's because the wind is blowing.

However, if you're an Official Guest and will be hanging around until the
Astronaut Departure Ceremony, it may be warm by then. Wear layers.

Especially, wear warm footwear. Official Guests will be standing around on
the cold, cold ramp and all your body heat will seep out of your feet into
the concrete heat sink. Running shoes work well. Hillside Guests will be
sitting up on metal bleachers. The portions of their anatomy in contact with
the bleachers (feet and seat) may get _real_ cold.

Here is a list of Freqs for the White Sands Missile Range

Military Police: 36.100 141.250
Laser Operations: 173.5625
Drone Operations: 164.500 172.400
Cooling: 168.000
Maint: 34.490
Missile Tracking: 412.875
Range Control: Channel 1 36.510
Channel 2 34.850
Telemetry: 38.450, 38.710, 38.950, 40.100, 41.450
Photography: 30.090, 41.430, 139.440
NASA operations: 34.310, 164.100, 169.075, 169.400

SSME Test Firings (thanks to )
The Stennis Space Center in Mississippi does Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME)
test firings, which, if I understand correctly, can be viewed by the public.
Try their public affairs office for details. The Marshall Space Flight Center
in Huntsville, Alabama also has an SSME test facility where you may be able
to view the firings.

Press Site Passes
If you are a legitimate, working member of the media, or have close connections
with someone in the media or NASA, you can be an official Press/Media
representative. This allows you much closer viewing, and material from NASA on
the mission. If you cannot be verified as a legitimate media person, your
request for accreditation will not be honoured. The Press Site is just east of
the "Dome" at LC-39 near the VAB. The shuttle while on the pad is obscured from
view by the launch towers.

Requests for accreditation should be mailed/faxed to the accreditation
secretary two to three weeks prior to launch. The request must be from a
credible media source and it must be on company letterhead stating the
requester(s) full names, social security number, affiliation and purpose
(i.e. John B. Quick, 111-22-3333, Time Magazine, photographer). The letter
must be signed by the requester's supervisor/editor/or person in charge. All
calls concerning accreditation should be given to Leslie. These requests can
be faxed to (321) 867 2692. After you are accredited, you can call the Media
tour info number, (321) 867 7819 for Photo ops, remote camera setups, etc.

Public Affairs Office
Attention: Accreditation
Kennedy Space Center FL 32899

Call (321) 867 2468 a couple of weeks after submitting the letter to make
sure that your name is on the list as an accredited press type person.

VIP Passes (Julie Clements and others)
Astronauts families and other VIP's are situated at the VIP site 1.5 km
north-east of the VAB and away from the press. The site is only 5.3 km from
Launch Pad B, and 6.2 km from Launch Pad A. It offers great viewing of a launch
and is near the site for the new Apollo exhibit site which encloses a Saturn V.
You can see the backside of Pad B and therefore don't see the initial ignition
very well. Any overflow from the VIP stands are sent to the Static Test Road
site (which is considered to be a VIP site).

The day before launch, all VIP guests, including crew guests, must check in
at the KSC Visitor Center prior to launch day and pick up their launch
credentials. The personalised bus tours are no longer offered.

The day of the launch, you're transported to the VIP launch stands via bus
from the parking lot of the KSC Visitor Center. Adjacent to the Saturn V
Center are the crew guest bleachers for astronaut families and friends. These
bleachers are accessable by going through the Saturn V Center or outdoor
entrances to the north and south. To the south of the Saturn V Center are a
separate set of bleachers for guests of NASA administration. Each person is
given a coloured button which indicates which stands they are allowed in.

Children are now allowed at the VIP site, so photographers will have to deal
with tripods being tripped over and sound recordists plead with parents to
have their kids stop kicking the chain link fence. :-)

The crew guest area is heavily controlled by the site managers to ensure that
only the people who belong there can gain access to it. Even the busses that
take the crew guests (aka Extended Family) park away from the VIP busses, the
crew guest busses entering the site from the north and parking at the north
end of the Saturn V center. The immediate family of the crew are given the
option to view the launch from a more secure area, the LCC roof.

About ten minutes after the launch the buses return and take the VIPs back to
the KSC Visitor Center. From there, VIPs must contend with the traffic
themselves, which is filled with all the people coming from the Causeway and
Static Test Road sites.

VIP passes are very difficult to get, but may be obtained if you personally
know someone who can officially nominate you. Nominators include your Congress
representative, NASA officials, and astronauts and experimenters for a given
mission. If you are not a family member or friend of a nominator you should
expect your nomination not to be honoured by NASA. International visitors
wanting a VIP pass need first contact their embassy in the US.

You will need to give the names of all the people attending the launch with
you, your affiliation, and your mail address to your nominator. Non-US citizens
also need to give your citizenship, date and place of birth, and your passport
number to your nominator. If approved, the pass is then mailed to you.

Request your pass or passes at least 3 months in advance. Asking for a VIP pass
even a month in advance is just about hopeless. NASA puts together the VIP
guest list for a launch way in advance. Actually, you are not requesting a VIP
pass, you're requesting a VIP invitation. All VIPs are invited guests of NASA.
So, the process is that you ask to be invited, then they invite you, you accept
via RSVP card, then they send you the necessary instructions. If you are
invited by NASA HQ, a vehicle pass for the KSC Visitor Center is included in
the invitation itself.

When you contact your nominator, be very specific. State the STS number and the
target launch or landing date for the launch or landing you want to see.
Whether or not your request is approved by NASA HQ is, in part, a function of
how many VIP invitations have already been issued. If the Banana Creek site is
full, you may be sent to the Static Test Road site instead.

VIP passes are on a per-person basis, meaning that you'll need a pass for
each person in your group.

To get an idea of what it is like to be a VIP at a night shuttle launch see

Barge Turn Basin Passes (KSC Visitor Center News for 16 February 1996)
These passes are no longer available.

This is a site at the LC-39 Barge Turn Basin (physically adjacent to the
Press Site) for NASA and contractor employees deserving special recognition
for their support of KSC's human space flight program. Each pass is for a
vehicle. As with other VIP viewing areas, launch commentary, bleachers,
restroom facilities, and food and souvenir sales will be provided. The pass
will be valid for entrance through KSC gates two hours before launch for
vehicles no larger than a 15-passenger van. A badged employee must be in each

Static Test Road Passes
This site (just north of the causeway on the cape side) is accessable only
via a "Static Test Road" pass. The official NASA policy is that the STR site
is an "overflow" location for the VIP site--nothing more, nothing less. To get
to the STR site one must be nominated by an astronaut, NASA official or member
of Congress just as they would if desiring a VIP pass.

Gold Passes
These are reserved for guest's of the Kennedy Space Center director. You can
basically go _anywhere_ your guide can take you. You generally have to be a
guest of the KSC director to get one of these.

NSS Passes

VIP passes from the National Space Society have been suspended indefinitely.

Forward Fireman Team (T.E.Thacker, Jr)
The absolutely positively best place is to get yourself a place in the
Forward Fireman Team. This is an exceedingly rare thing to come by and takes
considerable political pull but it has been done. This team is the group that
parks 1650 metres from the pad in one or more Armored Personnel Carriers
ready to go in and aid a crew abandoning ship in an extreme emergency.
Needless to say they can tolerate only one or at most two extra persons in
and among them. You stand a better chance if you have had any kind of fireman
training - especially fighting shipboard fires (like Naval veterans) -
because then you're more likely to be actually *useful*.

The noise at that distance is no longer noise. It's just one great big
horrible screech. Also, the heat off of the yellow-white hot SRB flame
columns is so terrific that you have to wear those silver colored fire-proof
suits and head coverings. You don't dare leave a camera by itself on a tripod
without heat foil covering because it will likely melt or at least burn up
the film inside.

Viewing from the LCC (thanks to Joe Mize )
I work in the VAB and watch as many launches as possible from outside the
LCC, Launch Control Center 5 km from the Pads. No one is allowed closer than
this because of safety and "Medical" reasons, the sound levels during launch
closer than 5 km will cause hearing loss and other physical damage. There is
a "Dead Crew" who work closer for safety assistance, they have special
reinforced and sound proofed bunkers. The reason for their name, "Dead Crew"
is that there is a high risk doing this job. No one has been lost so far.

During launch the popping heard is caused by the solid rocket booster, SRB's
burning their fuel and atmospheric compression. There is no control of the
SRB burn rate, light it up and off it goes. The uneven burning of the solid
fuel contributes to the popping sound. "Uneven" is a harsh sounding term, but
it is just that although the burn rate has been precisely calculated there
are variances. Close up, on the NASA NET replays, somethines you can see
pieces of fuel not completely burnt coming out of the fire stream.

Sometimes, dependent upon the weather the sound can be exceptionally loud,
high humidity, or practically non existent in comparison because of low
humidity and wind directions.

At the 5 km limit you can feel your pants and shirt vibrating against your
body. Open you mouth and you can feel the vibrations in your lungs. Building
fire alarms and car burglar alarms are set off because of the vibrations. The
VAB is covered by huge corrugated sheets which vibrate and start to squeak
during launch. It almost sounds like a scream.

No wonder everyone cheers at launch...

Anonymous ftp Sites
Image info provided by (in part) Daniel M. Israel
) and Kevin C. Marsh ):

World Wide Web Pages (thanks to Jim Dumoulin).
==================== - KSC Visitor Center - Space Camp - Shuttle Mission Home Page - NASA KSC Public Affairs - NASA KSC Engineering Development - Kennedy Space Center - NASA Home Page - NASA * Hot Topics *
- NASA Information Sources by Subject - Other Space Agencies - NASA Headquarters - NASA Office of Space Flight - Ames Research Center - Dryden Flight Research Facilty - Goddard Space Flight Center - Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Johnson Space Center - NASA JSC Digital Image Collection - Langley Research Center - Lewis Research Center - Marshall Space Flight Center - MSFC Spacelink - NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program - MIT Center for Space Research - MIT NASA News

Science, Technology and Classroom Demonstrations
Call Argonne National Laboratory 708-252-8241, or Internet

For more information on CD-ROMs, telnet to, username:
NODIS (no password). For a hardcopy catalog phone (301)268-6695 or send
email to and ask for the "NASA Earth and Space
Science Data on CD-ROM."

NASA Press Releases
NASA press releases and other information are available automatically by
sending an Internet electronic mail message to
. In the body
of the message (not the subject line) users should type the words
"subscribe press-release" (no quotes). The system will reply with a
confirmation via E-mail of each subscription. A second automatic message will
include additional information on the service. Questions should be directed
to +1 202 358 4043. NASA releases also are available via CompuServe using the
command GO NASA.

KSC Press Releases and Status Reports
To subscribe to KSC press releases send an email to

with the message "subscribe ksc-press-release" (no quotes). To subscribe to
Space Shuttle status reports send an email to
with the
message "subscribe shuttle-status" (no quotes).

JSC Press Releases and Status Reports
Johnson Space Center Mission Status Reports are available automatically by
sending an Internet electronic mail message to
. In the body of the message (not the
subject line) users should type "subscribe" (no quotes). This will add the
e-mail address that sent the subscribe message to the news release
distribution list. The system will reply with a confirmation via e-mail of
each subscription. Once you have subscribed you will receive future news
releases via e-mail.

Orbital Elements
The most current orbital elements from the NORAD two-line element sets are
carried on the Celestial WWW: and are updated daily
(when possible). Documentation and tracking software are also available on
this system. Element sets (also updated daily) and some documentation and
software are available via anonymous ftp from
( in the directory pub/space. As a service to the satellite user
community, the most current of these elements are uploaded weekly to and (thanks to Michael R. Grabois,

Brian Rehm ) and others tells us:

also contains the latest orbital elements. There is also tracking software
available here for both Macs and PCs.

There's a list of some 4100+ elements posted weekly at

You won't find the elements for _ALL_ the objects out there, but you will
find a much larger list at The
files are UNIX Z-compressed and have over 3000 objects. To decompress them,
just leave off the .Z when ftping them.

Eric Kaercher ) & Gary Morris )

The latest element sets for Shuttle flights and the MIR space station (and
someday for Alpha) can be found at
Elements can also be obtained from several NASA web sites
(,,, ftp
sites (, and other mailing lists
(AMSAT's KEPS list, etc).

Thanks to Lynn Tobias ):

Spacelink has a Space Shuttle orbital element mailing list called STSTLE. To
join the list send an email to with

subscribe STSTLE firstname lastname

in the body of the message. Replace the strings firstname and lastname with
your first and last names, respectively.

Other useful websites for orbital element information a (SeeSat-L mail list) (Orbitessera, orbital tracking information) (STSPLUS, orbit tracking software) (Mir/HST/ISS mailing lists)

Teaching Material
If you are or know a teacher, and they would like some teaching material
posters or pictures, have them write to the following address with the
pertinent information:

Kennedy Space Center FL 32899

To receive the "NASA Report To Educators" and other NASA publications, write
to the address below:

Educational Publications Services
Mail Code XEP
NASA Headquarters
Washington DC 20546

Serving inquiries related to space exploration and other activities:

Teaching Resource Center
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mail Stop CS-530
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109
(818) 354 6916 Fax: (818) 354 8080

If you're interested a phone number and address you can contact for public
information from JPL concerning unmanned planetary exploration:

(818) 354 5011

Public Information Office
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Mail Stop 186-120
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena CA 91109

Serving all states through workshops and materials:

National Air and Space Museum
Smithsonian Institution
Education Resource Center, MRC 305
Washington DC 20560
(202) 786 2109 Fax: (202) 786 2262

Keepers of the manifest, in remembrance: Ken Hollis - 1990 to 9 March 1994

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