Crowds flock to Florida's 'space coast' to witness history
Ed and Debby Rogers of Utah are part of the tens of thousands of campers outside Kennedy Space Center to watch Thursday's shuttle launch.
February 24th, 2011
02:29 PM ET

Crowds flock to Florida's 'space coast' to witness history

NASA's shuttle Discovery is scheduled to launch Thursday for its final mission as the shuttle program comes to an end. After months of delays due to leaks and cracks in the external tank, NASA says Discovery is ready.

And so are the people who began lining up along the causeways and waterfronts across from the Kennedy Space Center earlier this week.

Ed and Debby Rogers drove all the way from Utah with their dog AJ and pet bird Bamby.  They parked their RV along the Indian River for the second time in hopes Discovery will lift off and not be scrubbed like their first trip in November.

"For us it's a once in a lifetime experience," says Debby. "We grew up always watching it on TV and we always wanted to see in person."

Are you watching the shuttle launch?  Tell us about it.

Parking lots, batches of grass on the side of the road and parks with a view of the Kennedy Space Center are filled with people hoping to witness a spectacular launch. More than 60,000 people are expected at the Kennedy Space Center said NASA to witness the launch and that doesn't include the tens of thousands of spectators along the Indian River.

Hundreds have been packing into Space View Park in Titusville, Florida, where memorials to previous space programs are displayed.

Mike and Carol Hashiro who both work for Boeing in Los Angeles planned their trip to Florida with their son Kyle  in hope of see the shuttle launch.

"What we both do at work eventually ends up in space," says Carol, as she sits on the water's edge in Space View Park. "It's really exciting to see it used out there."

Nine-year-old Kyle said it more simply: "It's cool."

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Filed under: Florida • Shuttle • Space
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. insert witty fake name here

    ha! very very true.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. TB

    Pablo... Your a sick and my guess is just a kid..who else would make such a STUPID comment...

    February 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TB

    God Bless America.. And GODSPEED to the crew of the launch today...!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I wish them well but why bring mythology into such a wonderful science project?

      February 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I agree with you, TB, GOD BLESS AMERICA!

      February 27, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • stevenscarl

      I too agree, God speed, and God bless.
      Science is amazing. What is even better is that God created it all and we are just beginning to figure out how. Like a child learning new things how cool is knowledge.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BusyPerson

    This is very sad. I have watched all the space flights since John Glenn. Very sad to think this is the last one.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • cricket

      This is just the last launch for the DISCOVERY space shuttle. The Endeavor, Alantis, Alliance and other shuttles have many future missions to repair and replenish the space station as well as many scientific and laboratory missions. Check with http://www.nasa.gov for NASA's Shuttle and Rocket Lauch Schedule.

      February 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ahd

      This is not the last shuttle launch just the last one for Discovery. There is definitely 1 more in April. That is the last launch or the last launch is in June if Congress funds it.

      February 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • B

      There are 2 more scheduled. Then it is all over. This is just the last one for Discovery. After that we are going to be hithing rides from other countries to the space station.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  5. TB

    Be careful what you wish for my young child.. You have much to learn

    February 24, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TB

    Pablo... My young CHILD... Do not bite the hand that feeds

    February 24, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BamBam

    TB he's trolling you, just ignore him. He's probably got a 2 inch cokk and has to make up for it by being an a*shole. Nicely said US navy :L!

    February 24, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TB

    10-4 Navy brother... Be safe

    February 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. @BamBam

    Doesn't really bother me and i'm sure two inches isn't gonna bother her.

    February 24, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mr_Crowley

    Pablo = a puta boy

    February 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mr_Crowley

    pablo tu madre est pig

    February 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Doctor K

    Kids – it's not the last space flight yet. Pay attention please. It's the last flight of the Discovery. Two more after this one. Atlantis and Endeavour.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jam

    Anyone attending the launch please take pictures and post them up as many as you can this is history.

    February 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Lecter

      @Jam, will paintings be ok?

      February 24, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. larry staples

    obama=dreamkiller. it's not over until WE say it's over!

    February 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Berry

      The Obama administration did not, repeat did NOT, make the decision to end the space shuttle program. That was made by the Bush adminstration in 2004 after the investigation of the Columbia accident. By the time Obama was in office, all the various components of the shuttle system were being taken out of production. However, United Space Alliance, the Boeing/Lockheed venture that services the shuttle for flight, is proposing to semi-privitize the system and put the various components back in production to fly 2 missions a year from 2013 to 2017.

      February 24, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chris

    lol the "photographer" in the pic with her telephoto lens sure knows how to use it with the flash open!!! HAHAHA

    February 24, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
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