The UAE will launch several missions from Florida this year and next, including the Arab world’s first mission to the moon on November 30.
All will launch using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from one of the few active launch pads on the Space Coast.
The Rashid lunar rover, housed in the Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander of Japanese company ispace, will lift off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station next Wednesday at 12:39 UAE time.
A Falcon 9 rocket will also lift Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi from the Kennedy Space Center early next year.
And MBZ-Sat, expected to be the most powerful imaging satellite in the region, will also launch on a Falcon 9 late next year.
With several Emirati missions coming up, National explains the best places to watch launches on the Space Coast or online.
View of the rocket launch on the pier of the park
One of the most popular places to watch a rocket launch is from the Jetty Park beach and fishing pier.
The Cape Canaveral site has a beach, campground and fishing pier, and lots of bathrooms.
The park is just 17 kilometers from Launch Complex 40 – the platform where the UAE’s mission to the moon will launch.
Launch Complex 39A – from where Dr Al Neyadi is likely to take off – is about 22 kilometers away.
With a clear view of the launch sites, this location is a favorite spot for photographers and film crews.
A one-day park ticket costs US$16 (Dh58.77) per vehicle.
Cocoa Beach, south of Cape Canaveral, is also a popular sightseeing spot.
Alan Shepard Park
Alan Shepard Park, named after America’s first astronaut, is located south of the launch pads.
It is a seaside park with more than 300 parking spaces, picnic areas, playgrounds, showers and bathrooms.
The area is popular with tourists and has many shops within walking distance.
Parking for Shepard Park is $2.50 (Dh9) per hour or $15 (Dh55) per day.
Watch on the boat
If you want an unobstructed view of the launch and want to avoid the crowds, there are boat tours available specifically to view rocket launches.
Prices can range from US$50 (Dh183) to US$100 (Dh367) per person depending on which company you choose and how popular the upcoming launch is.
Barry Pendley is the boat captain for Banana Boat River Tours, which offer rocket launch viewing.
“We can load six people at a time and we run two boats,” he said.
“Manned missions seem to attract a lot more people or missions to the moon.”
Ships are not allowed to enter restricted areas.
While on the helicopter
The best way to watch a rocket launch is from a helicopter.
There are companies on the Space Coast that offer this service and fly just outside the restricted airspace.
Helicopters can take you up to a height of 1,129 meters, allowing you to see the rocket take off from above.
Beachside Helicopters is one company that offers this experience.
They charge US$250 (Dh918) per person, which includes a launch tour, Port Canaveral cruise ship flight and Cocoa Beach tour.
If the launch includes a rocket return, the helicopter will be held in place until the booster rockets return and land back at the Kennedy Space Complex.
Live from SpaceX
If you prefer to watch online, SpaceX usually always offers free live coverage of the launch unless the mission has a military client that has requested that the launch not be broadcast.
It is broadcast live on SpaceX social networks and the official website.
Updated: November 24, 2022, 11:32 am