Author Topic: SpaceX Falcon 9 v. 1.1 - Jason 3 - Vandenberg - Launch Viewing  (Read 60517 times)

Offline Bubbinski

I'm heading to Lompoc to go see my first SpaceX launch...and maybe my first landing?  Got everything all set, just need to figure out a good spot to view this launch and a possible landing attempt if such is in the works.  (Of course if it's a barge landing then I'll need a place with good wifi as I doubt I'd be able to watch it in person).

Will only be staying Sat night/Sun midday at present but have the option to extend if needed :)
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline ChrisC

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...
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Offline dcporter

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.

My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great.

CA is big.

Online HMXHMX

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Normally I'm in the U.S. Southeast, but I will be in California for this launch (assuming it happens in the second half of January).   I'm familiar with east coast viewability of launches from the Cape, but no clue about west coast.  How far north in California would the launch be viewable, if only a bright spec in the far distance?

If Jan 17-24, I'll be on a hilltop north of San Francisco looking towards the south ...

If Jan 24-30, I'll be in Los Angeles ...

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.

My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great.

CA is big.

I've watched MMIIIs going downrange to Kwaj in daylight, from a outdoor restaurant in Palo Alto, so it can be done if the azimuth is right.  But solids have a more obvious signature than liquids like F9.   And anywhere in LA will be much better for a south polar out of WTR.

Amusingly, I once caught a MMIII launch from WTR while driving away from the gate, and accidentally looking in my rear-view mirror...

Offline Kabloona

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I'm heading to Lompoc to go see my first SpaceX launch...and maybe my first landing?  Got everything all set, just need to figure out a good spot to view this launch and a possible landing attempt if such is in the works.  (Of course if it's a barge landing then I'll need a place with good wifi as I doubt I'd be able to watch it in person).

Will only be staying Sat night/Sun midday at present but have the option to extend if needed :)

Here's some viewing info. Santa Ynez peak may give you best visibility for launch and landing, but it is difficult to get to.

http://www.spacearchive.info/vafbview.htm
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=32534.0

Launch azimuth will be southeast toward the Channel Islands. The 4th photo in the link below shows the view of the Islands from Santa Ynez peak. Not sure, but you may even have a direct line of sight to the barge location from the peak. It will be parked northwest of San Miguel island and southwest of VAFB, about 50 miles offshore, too far out to see. But you might be able to see the landing burn.

http://www.qnet.com/~gladdly/radsights.htm
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 01:40 PM by Kabloona »

Offline ChrisC

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Thanks Kabloona, those are great links!  Especially the first one, which is the equivalent of the Ben Cooper writeup for the eastern range launches, which I am constantly pointing people to.  I'll also read through that Cassiope thread.

San Francisco will be the equivalent of watching KSC from Savannah, Georgia. I assume that's not great.  My map fu is a bit weaker to LA but I think that's the equivalent of watching from Jacksonville FL. Probably still not great. CA is big.

Yeah, see, that's the thing.  Eastern range launches can be seen as far as Boston, depending on the launch.  Big rockets going to ISS go up the east coast and can be seen VERY far away.  Now, obviously this Jason-3 launch is not going north, but you get my point.  Just because you're far away doesn't rule out visibility.

Getting excited!  Now, to see about the logistics ...
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 02:03 PM by ChrisC »
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Offline Bubbinski

Thank you Kabloona those links have useful info. Particularly the Cassiope thread.

You can count me out from going to the Santa Ynez peak. I'm not keen on risking a rental car on bad roads.  I watched Landsat 8 launch from Providence Landing, but if VAFB South Gate is better will see about that.
« Last Edit: 12/30/2015 02:34 PM by Bubbinski »
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

West Ocean Avenue along Vandenberg's base-line is a pretty good spot for viewing Falcon 9 launches from. It's not direct views of the launchpad, but as close as you can get, about 2.6mi. I'm not sure where you'd go to get an unobstructed view of the landing pad. Included a photo from Flight 6 back in Sept 2013 taken on West Ocean Ave with a 500mm lens.

Offline Smallbeck

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As luck will have it I can arrange to be in SoCal that weekend!  Will definitely plan to make it to a good viewing location, probably West Ocean Avenue.
« Last Edit: 12/31/2015 01:26 AM by Smallbeck »

Online Gliderflyer

Looks like it is going to be a party! I live 3 hours away, and have never seen a "real" rocket launch, so I'm really looking forward to this one. Does anyone know if Surf Beach will be open? If not I will be joining everyone else on Ocean Ave.
I tried it at home

Surf Beach will be closed, it's only open for Delta IV launches.

Offline PaST

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul

Offline Jarnis

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul

Well, the scheduled opening of launch window should be a firm time whenever it is published (usually few days prior to launch). Rocket can't go up before that time. So I guess if you are at your spot before that time, all good. Might want to be bit early, as the rocket won't wait if you are delayed by traffic or something :p

Offline billh

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hi all
I need some informations about forthcoming Falcon launch. In January I will be in Las Vegas for training period (I come from Europe). For me this is the unique opportunity to see rocket launch (maybe the only one in my life :o ). I would like to be very close so I decide to be on Renwick Ave (whereas the Surf Beach will be closed :( ).
How long in advance is good to be in the place? Is there a lot of people? I go from Ventura, probably without internet, does exist some local radio station with launch info?
I really hope for the first time launch because I have only free days 16-17 January.  :)

Thanks for answers
Paul
I hope you get to see the launch, Paul!

Offline chawleysnow

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Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.

Offline PaST

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Well, the scheduled opening of launch window should be a firm time whenever it is published (usually few days prior to launch). Rocket can't go up before that time. So I guess if you are at your spot before that time, all good. Might want to be bit early, as the rocket won't wait if you are delayed by traffic or something :p


clear, thanks ;) Google maps say that it's 90 minutes from Ventura, so set off in 7:30 am would be sufficient.



I hope you get to see the launch, Paul!

Thank you! :)


Is there a particular location along W. Ocean Ave for that's best for viewing?  I'm planning to drive up from LA to watch the launch.

I think that would be little better turn right from W. Ocean Ave e.g. to Renwick Ave because the hills left of W. Ocean Ave obscure the view. But seems to me it's only a slight improvement.
This video is from here https://www.google.cz/maps/place/34%C2%B040'03.2%22N+120%C2%B033'22.9%22W/@34.6675538,-120.5738707,14z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0 and this from here https://www.google.cz/maps/place/34%C2%B040'15.9%22N+120%C2%B033'15.6%22W/@34.6710864,-120.5565157,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0

I wish us success. :D

Offline PaST

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Paul I'd focus on having a very up to date (with road upgrades) GPS system.  Do lots of travel research, its not easy on those CA roads.  Weather is radically different this year.  There are some mountain passes you need to contend with.  Coming from Europe you need to be up on your travel research.

I acknowledge and working on it. Thank you

Online meekGee

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Paul I'd focus on having a very up to date (with road upgrades) GPS system.  Do lots of travel research, its not easy on those CA roads.  Weather is radically different this year.  There are some mountain passes you need to contend with.  Coming from Europe you need to be up on your travel research.

I acknowledge and working on it. Thank you

Some of us from Northern California were thinking about heading down (This was almost 8 months ago...)

Here's some Google Earth scouting.  It is difficult to get a good vantage point, and what's worse, there's likely no cell reception in those area so you'd be cut off from the webCast and NSF.

The cross section is backwards (left-to-right) but you get the point.  If you get to the peak, you'll see everything except the actual touch-down.   IF.   it's not clear from Google street view whether you can make it past the ridge line or are stopped earlier.

I entertained ideas such as getting on a train that will be blocked, on getting to the beach early and kinda lurking somewhere, etc...  even buying a 1 hour heli-ride from Lompac...    No solid plan has emerged...

After watching the last one from home, I'm conflicted on whether to go...

« Last Edit: 01/03/2016 12:07 AM by meekGee »
ABCD - Always Be Counting Down

Offline Bubbinski

I'll be flying in to BUR and heading up US 101, given the weather this year, would it be better to go up 101 to Buellton then 246 west to Lompoc, or to take Route 1 up to Lompoc, which I remember was a little bit "twisty" last time I used it to get to Lompoc for the Landsat launch?
I'll even excitedly look forward to "flags and footprints" and suborbital missions. Just fly...somewhere.

Offline spacejunkey

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I'll be flying in to BUR and heading up US 101, given the weather this year, would it be better to go up 101 to Buellton then 246 west to Lompoc, or to take Route 1 up to Lompoc, which I remember was a little bit "twisty" last time I used it to get to Lompoc for the Landsat launch?

Highway 1 does get a little twisty as you near Lompoc heading North. There is very little difference as far as road conditions are concerned, highway 246 and highway 1 are both dividied highways with limited passing zones, however I find 246 to be a little more scenic.

Source: I live in Lompoc.

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