CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - Tens of thousands of spectators will head to Florida's Space Coast to watch the liftoff of the Artemis l moon rocket mission on Monday. The 2-hour launch window opens at 8:33 a.m. EDT. With so many drivers on the road, plus five cruise ships disembarking that day, you can bet that traffic will be a nightmare.
Competing for parking and that "perfect vantage spot" will be challenging. So the best piece of advice is this: arrive early.
"It’s going to be a madhouse out here," said Ron Crossing. "Everybody just needs to keep calm. Be patient."
Courtney Winters said, "Make sure you’re where you need to be way ahead of time."
City officials are urging people to get errands done over the weekend to avoid Monday morning delays. They are expecting traffic to be at its worst after the launch window closes.
Brevard County Communications Director Don Walker told Florida Today that there will likely be gridlock in some areas and that the earlier you leave, the better. Walker also suggests making sure you have plenty of water and snacks on the road since you could potentially be stuck in traffic for hours.
Port Canaveral officials released the following details for drivers heading to the area to watch the Artemis launch:
- Port Canaveral is open.
- Jetty Park opens at 5:00 AM and will remain open until capacity is reached.
- Parking at The Cove is for business patrons only. Lots will remain open until capacity is reached.
- All cruise terminal parking garages and surface lots are reserved for cruise passengers’ parking only.
- No parking /viewing alongside SR 401 or George King Boulevard.
- SR 401 bridge will not open for vessel transits from 7:30 AM until 12 Noon.
- No drone photography will be permitted from the Port without prior approval of CPA’s Public Safety and Security Department.
Electronic signs on State Road 528 and A1A and on Port Canaveral roadways and intersections will advise motorists of road restrictions, as well as when parking capacity has been reached at designated parking areas.
Brevard County deputies will monitor traffic, control key traffic intersections, and enforce parking on and around the Port.
Credit: Port Canaveral
Credit: Port Canaveral
JETTY PARK – OPENS 5:00 AM
- Parking is limited to electronic passholders. Parking passes must be purchased in advance. No cash or credit card transactions are allowed at the entrance booth.
- Lot will close when 100% vehicle capacity is reached.
- Walk-ins or bicyclists will be allowed to enter the park until capacity is reached.
- After the launch vehicles departing Jetty Park will be directed by BCSO deputies onto Shorewood Drive towards N. Atlantic Blvd.
BOAT RAMPS PARKING
- Freddie Patrick Boat Ramps and Rodney S. Ketcham Park Boat Ramps vehicle and trailer parking will be open and available to boaters on a first-come, first-serve basis until capacity is reached.
- Boat Ramps parking lots are exclusively for boater vehicles and trailers using boat ramps.
COVE PARKING FOR RESTAURANTS AND BUSINESSES
- Parking lots in the Cove dining district (see parking map) are for the exclusive use of Cove merchant patrons.
- Lots will close when maximum vehicle capacity is reached.
- A private invitation only viewing event is being held for 3,000 guests outdoors on the lawn of the Exploration Tower. Parking for the event will be controlled by the event organizer; no public parking will be available in the area.
TRAFFIC IN AND AROUND THE PORT
- Exploration Tower and parking lot are closed for construction
- All cruise terminal parking garages and nearby surface lots are open for cruise guest parking only.
- No parking allowed on George King Boulevard, SR 401, or any Port roadways.
- No parking on unpaved lots or grassy surface areas.
- NO parking allowed on State Road 528 median – entire length
- SR 401 will be open to vehicle traffic heading to the Port’s northside cruise terminals and cargo operations and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station checkpoints.
- The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Road Rangers will be patrolling I95 and SR 528 to assist motorists with vehicle breakdowns and accident support.
WHEN IS ARTEMIS LAUNCHING?
The Artemis l mission is expected to launch from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Monday, Aug. 29, with a 2-hour window from 8:33 a.m. EDT - 10:33 a.m. NASA's first moon rocket in 50 years is slated for its maiden launch as a precursor for human flights to the moon.
After launching, the SLS will send the Orion spacecraft on a trajectory to orbit the moon for a 42-day mission before returning to Earth on Oct. 10, 2022.
Artemis II: Astronauts on their first flight aboard NASA’s Orion spacecraft will travel farther into the solar system than humanity has ever traveled before. (NASA)
WHERE CAN I WATCH THE ARTEMIS LAUNCH?
Beginning at midnight on Monday NASA will begin coverage on NASA.gov, NASA TV, and YouTube with commentary as the SLS rocket is fueled. At 6:30 a.m. full coverage begins and will continue until after Orion is on the path to the moon. Coverage in Spanish starts at 7:30 a.m. on NASA en español’s YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook accounts.
If you want to watch in person, parking will be tight in many of the most popular viewing locations, including Space View Park in Titusville, Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral and along the beaches in Brevard County. Most beach parks have limited parking lots. Downloading the Passport Parking app is the easiest way to pay for parking on your phone.
Along the Indian River in Titusville, which runs parallel to Kennedy Space Center, is also a good option for launch viewing. You can find a complete list of viewing spots HERE.
If you'd like to have some breakfast with your rocket launch, there are a number of Space Coast restaurants opening early on Monday that offer great views of the liftoff. Visit our guide to 7 Florida Space Coast restaurants offering gorgeous views of Artemis l launch.
ARTEMIS 1 TEAM COVERAGE on FOX 35: FOX 35 and Good Day Orlando will have team coverage from Kennedy Space Center, beginning at 4 a.m. You can watch the launch live on FOX 35, and livestream our special coverage at FOX35Orlando.com/Live and in the FOX 35 app.
WHAT WILL THE WEATHER BE ON LAUNCH DAY?
Launch forecasters with the 45th Weather Squadron are predicting a 70% chance of favorable weather for the Artemis 1 liftoff. It is summer in Florida, and the primary concerns will be any storms that roll in, creating cumulus cloud coverage, rain and lightning. The SLS can only launch under specific weather criteria, including constraints regarding temperature, wind, rain, cloud cover and lightning.
The rocket will also not launch if mission managers believe winds could create a problem for the launch vehicle during ascent.