Author Topic: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing  (Read 30447 times)

Offline stuart_wildcat

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STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« on: 07/09/2011 04:29 PM »
I decided to start a separate thread for those interested.  This helped tremendously for STS-134.  With a separate thread I got some last minute info that helped me view them which I might not have seen buried in a FD thread when trying to check on my phone, etc.

To start with the best place to view is Jetty Park.
www.jettypark.org

According to what I've gathered before (someone can correct me if this is wrong) they generally come into the port from the ocean in the evening, dock in the port overnight and then go through the locks at the West end of port early in the morning the next day.  You can sometimes get closer to the ships when they go through the locks but seeing them towed into the port seems to be the pictures most people like to get.  You can see example pictures people have taken in the STS-134 thread linked at the end.


Ship Tracking Info

There is a way online to get info on where the ships are.  In general though this does not give you much warning as they are within range of the tracking somewhere 5-7 miles out and they can come from there into the port in about 30 minutes.  Best bet is probably to go to the site below and see if you can sign up for an email that you will get on your phone for when the ships come in range.

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?mmsi=337942424&header=true
http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/shipdetails.aspx?mmsi=338990000&header=true


Timing of when this happens

In general this might be mentioned in a press conference.  Most people have said this happens 2 days after launch although for STS-134 it happened the day after launch because of the early launch and probably good seas.

Updates on the return of the ships will likely show up in a FD thread.  There has been a message in the FD 2 thread that apparently a "friend of a friend" heard that this might be Sunday evening but is not confirmed.  If anyone has confirmation of the day/time if you could cross-post in this thread as well as the FD thread that would be great.


You might also want to check the STS-134 thread on this for more info I haven't posted here:
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25171.0
« Last Edit: 07/09/2011 04:31 PM by Chris Bergin »

Offline racshot65

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #1 on: 07/09/2011 04:34 PM »
Page 10 of this document on L2 is probably useful ...

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=25838.0

Offline stuart_wildcat

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #2 on: 07/09/2011 04:42 PM »
Just found out there are MarineTraffic apps for iPhone and Android.  I love having a smartphone!

http://www.marinetraffic.com/ais/services.aspx?level1=170

Offline Ford Mustang

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #3 on: 07/09/2011 08:23 PM »
Figured this would be helpful.

Per NASA Kennedy on Twitter: NASA's Liberty Star now is expected to reach the Port Canaveral jetty Sunday about 12p EDT with Atlantis' right solid rocket booster

Offline racshot65

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #4 on: 07/09/2011 08:27 PM »
From the post MMT briefing

Q: SRB retrieval status? (Philip!)

A: Boosters are in tow. Will be in port tonight, open assessment tomorrow
« Last Edit: 07/09/2011 08:28 PM by racshot65 »

Offline stuart_wildcat

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #5 on: 07/09/2011 09:27 PM »
Figured this would be helpful.

Per NASA Kennedy on Twitter: NASA's Liberty Star now is expected to reach the Port Canaveral jetty Sunday about 12p EDT with Atlantis' right solid rocket booster

From the post MMT briefing

Q: SRB retrieval status? (Philip!)

A: Boosters are in tow. Will be in port tonight, open assessment tomorrow

Not sure if there is a mismatch between the info here?  I guess they could both say the same thing if we are talking midnight between Saturday and Sunday.

Would they even bring them in at midnight or is this not normally done?

Many thanks for posting in this thread.  Just trying to clarify to make sure I know when to head out.

Offline sts126

Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #6 on: 07/09/2011 11:04 PM »
Any updates?
Don't worry ... it IS Rocket Science. Dark matter somewhere in the house, just can't find it now.

Offline Endeavour Forever

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #7 on: 07/09/2011 11:28 PM »
We were just at Jetty Park (7:00pm EST).  The Park Ranger at the gate kiosk said, to the best of her knowledge, the SRBs will be arriving ~12:00pm noon tomorrow (Sunday).

PS - I said we'd heard they may arrive potentially tonight, but she said "no".
« Last Edit: 07/09/2011 11:36 PM by Endeavour Forever »

Offline stuart_wildcat

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #8 on: 07/10/2011 12:02 AM »
We were just at Jetty Park (7:00pm EST).  The Park Ranger at the gate kiosk said, to the best of her knowledge, the SRBs will be arriving ~12:00pm noon tomorrow (Sunday).

PS - I said we'd heard they may arrive potentially tonight, but she said "no".

I think with that info (although not official) it does look like Noon Sunday is the target.

If you break down the NASA Kennedy tweet it mentions "now is expected" like initially the thought was they might be in earlier but now it is noon Sunday.

Perhaps the info from the post-MMT briefing was a little out of date.  I'm sure they have plenty of other things to worry about than making sure they know exactly when the SRB ships will return.  KSC would certainly know more detail as that is something that would impact work being done there.

Probably a moot point anyway since I know the park closes for entry at sunset I believe so if they did come in during the night there is no chance to see them anyway.

I guess we should all hope to look out there at noon and see them coming back!

Offline solaria

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #9 on: 07/10/2011 12:46 AM »
Brilliant, thanks for starting this thread. I know some people who missed seeing them last time as info tricky to time. My friends were told the same at Jetty Park at 7pm (that the ships were expected in at 12:00), apparently a guy at the locks told them they were expected in the locks around 13:00.

Anyone up for lunch at Fishlips after? :-)

Offline erichamion

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #10 on: 07/10/2011 01:37 AM »
Figured this would be helpful.

Per NASA Kennedy on Twitter: NASA's Liberty Star now is expected to reach the Port Canaveral jetty Sunday about 12p EDT with Atlantis' right solid rocket booster

To someone who knows nothing about ports, jetties, locks, capes, marine traffic, or Florida, what exactly does this mean for trying to see the SRBs?  Is this when we should be at Jetty Park (arriving earlier to give some leeway, of course), or does it mean something else?

Offline nathan.moeller

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #11 on: 07/10/2011 01:42 AM »
Figured this would be helpful.

Per NASA Kennedy on Twitter: NASA's Liberty Star now is expected to reach the Port Canaveral jetty Sunday about 12p EDT with Atlantis' right solid rocket booster

To someone who knows nothing about ports, jetties, locks, capes, marine traffic, or Florida, what exactly does this mean for trying to see the SRBs?  Is this when we should be at Jetty Park (arriving earlier to give some leeway, of course), or does it mean something else?

"Jetty" is just the name of the park.  It's $5 to get your car in there (or it was when I was there in May 2010).  There's a long pier that extends over the water at the east end of the park that's perfect for watching the ships arrive.  And yes - get there early.

As for the locks, they're a little ways west of Jetty Park.  Any nearby official will be able to give you directions.  The ships typically go through the locks the morning after they arrive in port.  The first ship goes through around 6 am, with the second following an hour or hour and a half later.  That's how it was for STS-132, anyway.  Definitely worth being there early!
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Offline erichamion

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #12 on: 07/10/2011 02:01 AM »
Thanks!

Just to make sure I have this right, if the KSC tweet is correct, if the schedule doesn't somehow change, and if things proceed as they normally have, then the ships towing the SRBs should be visible from the pier at Jetty Park around noon on Sunday, and then they would pass through the locks a bit farther inland early Monday morning.  Yes?

Also, parking may have gone up.  I just found http://www.portcanaveral.com/recreation/beaches.php , which says it's $10.

Offline solaria

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #13 on: 07/10/2011 02:30 AM »
The guy at the locks today implied they were expecting them through the locks at 1pm tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon, as they would be arriving in port at midday.

The 6am locks previously were perhaps because the boats arrived too late to get them through the locks easily the evening they arrived.

Offline nathan.moeller

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #14 on: 07/10/2011 02:55 AM »
Thanks!

Just to make sure I have this right, if the KSC tweet is correct, if the schedule doesn't somehow change, and if things proceed as they normally have, then the ships towing the SRBs should be visible from the pier at Jetty Park around noon on Sunday, and then they would pass through the locks a bit farther inland early Monday morning.  Yes?

Also, parking may have gone up.  I just found http://www.portcanaveral.com/recreation/beaches.php , which says it's $10.

Correct.  I'll see if I can make a map for you from Google earth.  And take extra cash just in case.
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Offline nathan.moeller

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #15 on: 07/10/2011 03:01 AM »
Here's a quick graphic from Google maps of the viewing locations.  Both are accessible by the public.  Hope this helps.
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Offline stuart_wildcat

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #16 on: 07/10/2011 03:16 AM »
The only time I've heard mention of going through the locks in the morning is when they do arrive late in the evening.  If they do arrive mid-day they might go right for the locks. 

Usually they tow the booster into the port and then tie it up to the side of the ship for going through the locks.  I assume they won't change this and will want the relative quiet of the port to switch how the booster is anchored to the ship so there may still be some time between seeing it at Jetty Park and going over to the locks.

I have attached a screenshot that shows how to get from Jetty Park over to where the locks are.  I have never been over to the locks but apparently there is an area at the end of Mullet Road that you can park and see them as they approach and go through the locks.

I'm assuming that everyone can use Google Maps or something to find details on how to get to Jetty Park and exactly how to get over to the locks.  The screenshot is just to make sure you are getting the right place to go.  Notice how you do not go back on 528/1A but go under the 401 bridge that goes over to the Air Force base.

Once you get to Jetty Park you want to go all the way to the NE corner that you can drive to and park.  Then follow the sidewalk that runs East along the port inlet if you want to go out that way.  Personally I might hang back towards the parking area a bit since we are assuming they will go straight to the locks after entering the port and tying the booster along the side of the ship.  Best to get there a little early to get an idea of the different vantage points and decide what you might want to do.

If they do happen to bring the booster into the port already tied to the side of the ship we may not have much time between seeing them at Jetty Park and when they are at the locks.

Thanks to everyone who has passed along some info on this.  Hopefully this will give everyone who is around and wants to try this enough to see the boosters.  It is cool to see up close rockets that are powerful enough to help the shuttle get from 0-3000 MPH in just over two minutes!

I see Nathan beat me with the map but hopefully both posts help...

Offline nathan.moeller

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #17 on: 07/10/2011 03:21 AM »
Thanks for that addition, Stuart.  I should have posted directions but I could have gotten them wrong :D  For STS-132, the boosters arrived around 4/5 pm or so.  I honestly can't remember the exact time.  They tied the SRBs up next to the ships overnight and went through the locks the next morning.  But it does vary from mission to mission.
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Offline Nick

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #18 on: 07/10/2011 03:23 AM »
Hi Folks,

Unfortunately, I can't be there tomorrow, because I've got to head north for the rest of my vacation.

I can't speak for the photo opportunities from Jetty Park, but I would seriously commend consideration of also watching the ship(s) go through the Canaveral lock at the west end. I did this for STS-129 and Freedom Star (I missed Liberty Star by an hour or so.) Photos are on my machine at home - sorry.

You can watch the ship coming in under the 401 bridge, deploy a Zodiac with a crew to tie her up, enter, hold, and pass through the lock, from as little as about 15-20 feet away. Especially if the booster is on the port side of the ship, you will be amazingly close to flown hardware.

Oh, and it's free... And loads of manatees and pelicans when I was there as well!

Whatever you decide to do, have fun...

Nick
« Last Edit: 07/10/2011 03:26 AM by Nick »

Offline nathan.moeller

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Re: STS-135: SRB Recovery Ship Viewing
« Reply #19 on: 07/10/2011 03:30 AM »
We'll have LOTS of HD footage of SRB return events in our Press to MECO documentary.  Great fun!
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