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Thousands hoping to secure tickets to see NASA’s Artemis I moon rocket launch briefly crashed the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s website this week, but a quick fix helped sell out of the closest viewing packages in just a few hours.
Those looking for an up-close view of the first launch of the 322-foot Space Launch System rocket, slated to fly between Aug. 29 and Sept. 5, overwhelmed the site’s capacity when tickets went on sale at 11 am Tuesday. Two-and-a-half hours later, the Visitor Complex said the two most expensive packages – of three in total – had sold out.
Rebecca Burgman, a spokesperson for the Visitor Complex, confirmed that the technical issues caused by the demand were quickly resolved.
“This is an historic mission and there was significant traffic to the website when tickets became available at 11 am on August 2,” Burgman said. “There were initial delays with the ticketing site that our team was able to quickly address.”
The first to sell out was “Feel the Heat,” a $250 ticket that includes launch viewing from the Visitor Complex’s Apollo/Saturn V Center on KSC property. Viewing from the Saturn V rocket center is one of the only ways members of the public can watch launches from within the perimeter of the secure spaceport. This viewing spot is about 3.5 miles from pad 39B, where Artemis I will blast off.
Next, the $150 “Feel the Fun” packages sold out. Those tickets include viewing from a specially designated outdoor area on the north side of the space shuttle Atlantis exhibit. This spot is just outside of NASA property but still much closer to the launch site than other publicly accessible areas. Its main advantage is that it includes a direct line-of-sight to KSC without buildings in the way.
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Burgman said those hoping to catch tickets aren’t out of luck: viewing from the main campus is still available at $99. Both these and the “Feel the Fun” tickets are about 8 miles from the launch pad.
“We have several launch viewing sites for this launch including enhanced main complex viewing areas,” Burgman said. “We expect thousands of guests for this special launch.”
The tickets come with added benefits beyond liftoff. Burgman said there will be educational experiences and presentations by LEGO and Orion capsule builder Lockheed Martin; guests will receive a commemorative launch card; and a scavenger hunt is being organized that ends with a prize as long as supplies last.
Tickets are available at kennedyspacecenter.com/launches-and-events.
The thousands of Visitor Complex guests join the at least 100,000 spectators expected to swarm the Space Coast for the rocket’s debut. That figure could be significantly higher, according to the Tourist Development Council, and many hotels are already sold out.
As it stands, the Artemis I mission has solid opportunities to fly on Aug. 29, Sept. 2, or Sept. 5. It will mark the first flight of the SLS rocket and Orion capsule, both of which have been chosen to take astronauts back to the lunar surface sometime this decade.
This specific mission is uncrewed, but will spend weeks traveling to the moon, flying in orbit, then returning to Earth for splashdown. SLS will be the most powerful rocket to ever fly from the Space Coast.
For the latest, visit floridatoday.com/launchschedule.