Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 v. 1.1 - Jason 3 - Vandenberg - Launch Viewing  (Read 43579 times)

Offline psloss

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?
All the accounts I've read that mention roadblocks say they are put up way before one could get to that point.  A few of them mention the base's south gate, which is just a little west of Ocean's intersection with Renwick Ave that has been mentioned in this and other Vandenberg threads here.

Offline Bubbinski

Multiple sources are saying SpaceX will indeed try for an ASDS landing. Whichever place I end up to watch the launch from in the area will have good wifi or LTE reception so I can not only see the launch with my own eyes but also catch the webcast on the iPad as well.
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline jimvela

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Is there a reason that people don't travel to the end of Ocean Ave to view the launch?
View from the end of Ocean Ave:

That's surf beach, and it is generally always closed during launches.

The stop signs / gate you see in the street map view heads back onto south base, and that is never publicly accessible.

I generally go to Ocean/Renwick if I'm watching a launch that I've not flown in to work.

If the marine layer is in, I have a couple of backup spots up high that I use, but those aren't always satisfactory as they're a ways away.

Offline jimvela

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Multiple sources are saying SpaceX will indeed try for an ASDS landing. Whichever place I end up to watch the launch from in the area will have good wifi or LTE reception so I can not only see the launch with my own eyes but also catch the webcast on the iPad as well.

There are a couple of spots along Renwick that have strong AT&T LTE, and most of it has strong Verizon LTE.
I've had nothing but disappointment with Sprint and T-Mobile there, but admittedly haven't tried in about a year.

I have a passive reflector that I put a broadband access point in and point at the tower of the provider that I"m using, and I've been able to stream the launch coverage live many times from that spot.  It's pretty freaky for folks that are following the coverage and the rocket is flying while the coverage is buffered up and up to 20 seconds behind.

I'll bet that I could successfully stream video *from* that spot, but won't do that for a launch that I'm working and haven't had any interest to do that as a tourist thus far.

Offline manoweb

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One could always setup the phone to receive Twitter over SMS (text message) right? Granted, it's not like the live stream, but it should give the most useful info while one is watching a live launch...

Offline manoweb

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Apparently the Vandenberg base has published this image on their website:


http://www.vandenberg.af.mil/shared/media/ggallery/hires/2016/01/AFG-160105-015.jpg

Its says:

"Best on base viewing at 35th Street and New Beach Blvd"
"Best off base viewing at Floradale Ave and Ocean Blvd, Lompoc"

I think it's safe to assume on-base requires permits that are not available to regular humans; however, when checked on a map, they seem "weird" places as it seems easy to find slightly closer spots, inside and outside the base... Any idea?
« Last Edit: 01/08/2016 09:01 PM by manoweb »

Offline Brovane

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Looks like launch could happen on the 17th which would be great.  I live in Orange County CA so I was seriously thinking about making the 4-hour drive to see the launch.  This would be my first space launch and my wife and kids also want to come.  I planning on viewing from the Ocean/Renwick location since it seems fairly reasonable (as long as we don't have any Marine layer) and you get a good view of the launch a couple of seconds after lift-off.  Who else is going to be there from NSF? 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

Offline manoweb

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Me, with wife and two kids too, from the Bay Area.


Also, I will be active on ham radio (VHF/UHF). Anybody here a ham too? Maybe familiar with a repeater that could be used to get information from people in their QTH with a reliable Internet connection.

I'll be there with a full car of friends! This'll be my 12th Vandy launch assuming all goes well.

To answer an earlier question, LTE coverage is great on Ocean Ave, should be easy to stream launch coverage on whatever device you may have.

Offline jimvela

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Me, with wife and two kids too, from the Bay Area.
Also, I will be active on ham radio (VHF/UHF). Anybody here a ham too?

KD0MKI here.
Locally, the Satellite Amateur Radio Club has a club facility in the hills up by where the USAF has a GPS comm installation.
They have been very welcoming to me when I've visited in the past.
http://www.satellitearc.com/

Quote
Maybe familiar with a repeater that could be used to get information from people in their QTH with a reliable Internet connection.

I've dropped in on the SARC folks several times when out working or visiting the area, and they've happily allowed the use of their 2M repeater.  I've also been a good neighbor- using the obligatory minimum TX power to hit the repeaters.
I've never been hassled on or off base, though I can imagine getting some negative attention if you rolled up towing a mobile shack and large antenna...

As with everywhere I've been on the planet, the local HAM community is an awesome bunch of folks and it's very much worth your time to introduce yourself to them.  I've also gone up to the club facility in the hills a couple of times when the marine layer was in thick and it was clear that there wasn't much to see down low.  Once I even got to see a launch pop out of the marine layer from there (rare occurrence).

Most of the SARC members have been in the area a long time, and more than a few work on base, so they're not as excited as us visitors over any given launch- but my own experience with them has been fantastic.

To get to the SARC club facilites from Ocean/Renwick without a base pass, it takes driving all the way around through Lompoc  and back up by Casmalia.

Speaking of Casmalia, if any NSF members do end up that way, stop by the Hitchin' Post and try some of the fantastic local fare there.  I make a point of visiting every time I go out. 
http://www.hitchingpost1.com/

Also get some Pie at Sissy's if you have a chance.  Order pie when you arrive. http://sissysuptowncafe.com/


My suggestion for any NSF members that go out is to meet up and pool resources- share broadband connections, coordinate picture taking and other activities.  Maybe even post live updates here on day of launch.

It's also a great experience to extend outreach as you visit.  Each time I've set up either on Ocean Ave or off Ocean on Renwick, there has been a crowd of random people that decided that was the time to take the family to see a launch.  Sharing knowledge, streaming the launch coverage, and of course providing information after the launch from our excellent source of news (ahem... NSF) - all of that is warmly received by folks coming to visit.

One reminder that I always provide- Ocean/Renwick has zero facilities, so you'll need a plan for meals and potty breaks.  Don't expect anything to be there- it's a beautiful little farming spot on the border of an air force base a good 5 minutes from Lompoc's eateries or restrooms.  That alone is enough to push some folks further out.

For myself, I'm still on the fence about going out- if word here and word of mouth from my contacts looks promising I may yet do a spur of the moment trip, but this year is shaping up as holding a bunch of things I want to see launched, so my odds are perhaps 30% for this one.
« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 03:47 AM by jimvela »

Offline pericynthion

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If I were to fly into the Lompoc airport, would anyone be willing to pick me up and take me to a better viewing spot?  Perhaps in exchange for a ride in my VariEze? :)

Offline manoweb

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Hello, KE7JDE here. I had a look at SARC already but they list too many repeaters :)

Repeaters
147.12 + 131.8 pl WA6VPL
145.14 - 131.8 pl KM6DF
146.7 - 127.3 pl Van Lyons
145.71 simp. Echolink
145.360 - 131.8 pl WB6FLY
146.175 + 100 pl KA6BFB

Plus they have a link to a huge list of repeaters in the region. Any specific one you recommend?

pericynthion: I am traveling with my family but if you need a ride from the airport just let me know, I can always leave them momentarily and come to pick you up; I was planning to watch from W. Ocean ave this time. What was your plan, what time would you come in?

Offline Jim_LAX

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W6YFU (inactive) here.  I plan on driving up from Los Angeles that morning to watch the launch.  I think I will put a sign on my truck with my NSF handle on it.  I'll be on Ocean Ave near the South Gate base entrance.  I'm retired aerospace, Hughes Aircraft Co.  Say hello when you see me!
"I don't go along with going to the Moon first in order to build a launch pad to go to Mars.  We should go to Mars from Earth orbit."

Offline manoweb

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I'll be on a blue truck with a tent on top. You will see me. The license plate is my callsign KE7JDE

(PS I watched "The Aviator" movie last week)

Offline jimvela

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Has there been any new "security requirements" listed for a viewing?

Reason I'm asking is an experience that happened last week at a trade show.

Clearly a major uptick in security.  Even worse, they had the bomb sniffing dogs out in the isles.  If you know anything about security you are aware what that means.

None being reported that I know of.
If you drive by the gates at 13th/Ocean Avenue and see armored vehicles just inside the gates on either side, that'd be a sign the base is on heightened alert status.

Just be polite and respectful of any law enforcement that you interact with and you'll be fine. 

More notes for visitors- large swaths of the area (including Highway 1 between the main gate and 135, and Ocean Avenue from 13th to Surf beach) are technically on VAFB, so the MPs have full authority to control the area.  "Yes, Sir." or "Yes, Ma'am." work great when interacting with them.

As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)
« Last Edit: 01/13/2016 05:59 PM by jimvela »

Offline deruch

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As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)

Hahaha. 

"Take that, 45th Space Wing!  You may have stolen the first landing from us, but we're going to be even more innovative than you."  -- 30th Space Wing
Shouldn't reality posts be in "Advanced concepts"?  --Nomadd

Offline bstrong

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As an aside, VAFB's website now shows this:
(Note launch and landing)

Hahaha. 

"Take that, 45th Space Wing!  You may have stolen the first landing from us, but we're going to be even more innovative than you."  -- 30th Space Wing
I wonder if the "to and from space" bit is a reference to dragon landings at VAFB. Doesn't quite make sense just talking about returning boosters.

Online abaddon

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I wonder if the "to and from space" bit is a reference to dragon landings at VAFB. Doesn't quite make sense just talking about returning boosters.
The Orbcomm2 booster apogee was around 200km, well above what is considered "space".  They didn't say "orbit".  So that seems perfectly reasonable.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 05:39 PM by abaddon »

Offline Jdeshetler

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Sudden Peak and the access road will be blocked by the sheriff since this area fall under "Clear Zone" as I am told since the flight path goes south.

I might considering going up to Santa Ynez Peak w/ my 4x4 truck (1.5 hrs from Lompoc and climbed 4,300') only if there is no high overcast. However it's high overcast (very likely, thanks to El Nino), then the Ocean Ave. spot will be my next choice.
« Last Edit: 01/15/2016 05:58 PM by Jdeshetler »

Offline Brovane

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I am showing Weather.com saying that it will be cloudy on Sunday.  How will the viewing from Ocean Ave. be?  Trying to decide if it is worth the 4-hour drive to view the launch in person. 
"Look at that! If anybody ever said, "you'll be sitting in a spacecraft naked with a 134-pound backpack on your knees charging it", I'd have said "Aw, get serious". - John Young - Apollo-16

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