NASA Starliner launch to send astronauts to International Space Station: Where to see liftoff

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Godspeed, Starliner. After an initial attempt, Boeing's maiden crewed flight has been rescheduled, delayed and now possibly ready to launch.

Boeing is preparing to launch its Starliner capsule on its first crewed mission from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. And parts of the Southeastern Coast of Florida may get a peek at the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket lifting off into the sky.

As of Thursday, May 30, Starliner has a launch date of Saturday, June 1 (see below). If the launch time and date changes, this story will be updated.

On board the rocket will be two NASA astronauts. Flying this commercial crew mission are Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams, both Navy test pilots. They have each flown in space twice (more info about them below).

Day or night, watching a rocket launch on the beach is so Florida. But can you see a rocket launch liftoff from Cape Canaveral all the way in Daytona Beach to Fort Pierce?

Weather permitting and depending on cloud cover, yes. We have suggestions on where and how to watch a rocket launch from Volusia County to the Space Coast to the Treasure Coast (just keep scrolling) along with information on NASA's Boeing Starliner rocket launch.

If you're on the Fun Coast of Florida, here's where to see liftoff of the ULA rocket

If you're on the Treasure Coast, here's where to see NASA Starliner launch

What is Boeing's Starliner?

Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore pose for the Starliner CFT crew portrait.
Sunita Williams and Barry Wilmore pose for the Starliner CFT crew portrait.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft will transport NASA astronauts. The company calls it the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 Starliner, or simply “Starliner." Set to launch no earlier than Saturday, June 1, 2024, it will make history as the first spacecraft to ferry humans from Space Launch Complex 41 in Cape Canaveral. The launch pad has been the site for historic missions beginning with the Titan rockets in 1965 and including the New Horizons deep space probe, the Voyager spacecraft, and even the Curiosity Mars rover.

Starliner will be launched with the help of a United Launch Alliance (a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin) Atlas V rocket. The Atlas V rocket has launched from the site since 2002, but this will be the first time it carries astronauts to space.

What launches from where? Years after space shuttle retirement, Florida chases nearly 70 launches a year

Who are the NASA astronauts flying into space for Starliner launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida?

The two NASA astronauts flying this commercial crew mission are Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Sunita "Suni" Williams. Both are Navy test pilots. They have each flown in space twice and both bring a wide variety of experiences to the flight.

Williams was originally a helicopter test pilot before switching to flying jets. She's preparing to fly to space for the third time, as the crew test flight pilot.

This will be Wilmore's third spaceflight as well. Before becoming a NASA astronaut, Wilmore was a U.S. Navy captain, fighter pilot, and test pilot, accumulating more than 8,000 hours of flight time. Wilmore flew the FA-18 Hornet and T-45 Goshawk, playing a role in missions during Operation Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Southern Watch.

Is there a rocket launch in Florida? NASA’s Boeing Starliner crewed flight test

Where to watch a rocket launch from Space Coast of Florida, from Titusville and Mims to Cocoa Beach and Melbourne

Pretty much anywhere in Brevard, you'll get a view of the rocket launch. The best view to watch a rocket launch from the Space Coast is along the beach. However, visibility will depend on weather conditions and people should make sure not to block traffic or rights of way on bridges and to follow posted rules at beaches.

If you are viewing the launch along the Indian River in Titusville from Space View Park or Parrish Park, look east directly across the river. If you are farther south along the Indian River, look northeast.

Playalinda Beach or Canaveral National Seashore is the closest spot to view liftoff because it is almost parallel to Launch Pad 39A. On the beach, look south along the coastline, (you can even see the pad from some spots).

Some hotspots to check out:

  • Jetty Park Beach and Pier, 400 Jetty Park Road, Port Canaveral. Note, there's a charge to park.

  • Playalinda Beach, 1000 Playalinda Beach Road, Canaveral National Seashore. Note, there's a charge to park, and access to Canaveral National Seashore isn't always granted depending on capacity and time of day.

  • Max Brewer Bridge and Parrish Park, 1 A. Max Brewer Memorial Parkway, Titusville. Note, parking is available on both sides of Max Brewer Bridge.

  • Space View Park, 8 Broad St., Titusville

  • Sand Point Park, 10 E. Max Brewer Causeway, Titusville

  • Rotary Riverfront Park, 4141 S. Washington Ave., Titusville

  • Riverfront Park at Cocoa Village, 401 Riveredge Blvd., Cocoa (just before State Road 520 Causeway)

  • Cocoa Village, near the parks and shops or near the docks

  • Various parks on Merritt Island

  • Rotary Park, 1899 S. Courtenay Parkway, Merritt Island

  • Kiwanis Park on Kiwanis Island Park Road on Merritt Island

  • Port Canaveral, with ships from Disney Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean at port

  • Alan Shepard Park, 299 E. Cocoa Beach Causeway, Cocoa Beach. Note, there could be parking costs.

  • Cocoa Beach Pier, 401 Meade Ave. Parking fee varies.

  • Lori Wilson Park, 1400 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach. Lori Wilson Park has a dog park, by the way.

  • Sidney Fischer Park, 2200 N. Atlantic Ave., Cocoa Beach. Note, there could be parking costs.

  • Downtown Cocoa Beach, along Minutemen Causeway

  • Tables Beach, 197 SR A1A, Satellite Beach

  • The Tides on SR A1A in Satellite Beach

  • Various parks, including the Pelican Beach Clubhouse, in Satellite Beach

  • Pineda Causeway

  • Eau Gallie Causeway

  • Front Street Park near Melbourne (U.S. 192) Causeway and U.S. 1 in Melbourne

  • Indialantic boardwalk at Melbourne Causeway and SR A1A

  • Paradise Beach Park, aka Howard Futch Park, 2301 SR A1A, Melbourne (this is a beachside park)

  • Sebastian Inlet Park, 9700 S. State Road A1A, Melbourne Beach (there is a cost to enter)

  • Ambersands Beach Park, 12566 N. SR A1A, Vero Beach (free parking)

  • South Beach Park, 1700 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach (free parking)

  • Merrill Barber Bridge in Vero Beach

  • Alma Lee Loy Bridge in Vero Beach

Can you see a rocket liftoff from Kennedy Space Center in New Smyrna Beach? Where can I see a rocket launch in Volusia County, Florida?

In Volusia County, immediately north of Brevard County, you can get a great view of a SpaceX, NASA or United Launch Alliance rocket launch.

The best views to watch a rocket launch from here is along the beach. Look due south. Here are some recommended spots:

• South New Smyrna Beach (Canaveral National Seashore), there may be parking costs. New Smyrna Beach features 17 miles of white sandy beaches. An eclectic and quaint beach town, despite its reputation as the "Shark Bite Capital of the World," New Smyrna Beach has always been a haven for surfers who come for the waves.

Dinner and a launch: Perfect for a SpaceX or NASA rocket launch, best waterfront restaurants in Volusia County

• Mary McLeod Bethune Beach Park, 6656 S. Atlantic Ave., New Smyrna Beach. Bethune Beach, which is 3.5 miles south of New Smyrna Beach and one mile north of the Apollo Beach entrance to Canaveral National Seashore Park, has restrooms, picnic pavilions, showers and nearly 800 feet of beachfront sidewalk, according to Volusia County's site. The nearby riverside park area is across South Atlantic Avenue with tennis courts, pickle ball courts, basketball and volleyball courts, playground, fishing pier and restrooms. The river by the park can be a great viewing spot for manatees, dolphins and pelicans.

• Apollo Beach at Canaveral National Seashore (south of New Smyrna Beach). Canaveral National Seashore runs along Florida's East Coast in Volusia County and Brevard County. To access Apollo Beach, take Interstate 95 to exit 249, then travel east until it turns into State Road A1A. Follow SR A1A south to the park entrance.

• Oak Hill riverfront is the southernmost city in South Volusia County.

• Sunrise Park, 275 River Road, Oak Hill

• Goodrich's Seafood and Oyster House back deck, 253 River Road, Oak Hill

• Seminole Rest national historic site, 211 River Road, Oak Hill

• Riverbreeze Park, 250 H.H. Burch Road, Oak Hill

• Mary Dewees Park, 178 N. Gaines St., Oak Hill. Facilities include a rental building,playground, baseball field, basketball courts, tennis courts, outdoorrestrooms, pavilions, picnic areas and grills.

• Nancy Cummings Park, 232 Cummings St., Oak Hill. Facilities include a playground, baseball field, basketball courts, outdoor pavilion and restrooms.

• Jimmie Vann Sunrise Park, 275 River Road, Oak Hill. This location has about 350 feet of beautifully restored shoreline, according to the city of Oak Hill online. Facilities include a pavilion, picnic tables and kayak launching facilities.

• A.C. Delbert Dewees Municipal Pier, 243 River Road, Oak Hill. Facilities include a520-foot observation pier with two covered decks and seating, the city of Oak Hill site states.

• Bird Observation Pier on River Road across from A.C. Delbert Municipal Pier (see above). Facilities include a 100-foot observation pier.

Where can I see a Florida rocket launch in Indian River County, St. Lucie County and Martin County?

The best views to watch a rocket launch here is along the beach. Visibility in Indian River County, St. Lucie County and Martin County, part of the Treasure Coast, will depend on weather conditions, and people should make sure not to block traffic or rights of way on bridges and to follow posted rules at beaches. Look due north.

• Pretty much anywhere in Brevard, you'll get a view of the rocket launch. That includes Melbourne Beach, which borders Indian River County, or from Grant-Valkaria along the Indian River Lagoon.

• Sebastian Inlet Park, 9700 S. State Road A1A, Melbourne Beach (there is a cost to enter)

• Wabasso Beach Park, 1808 Wabasso Beach Road, Wabasso

• Ambersands Beach Park, 12566 N. SR A1A, Vero Beach (free parking)

• South Beach Park, 1700 Ocean Drive, Vero Beach (free parking)

• Merrill Barber Bridge in Vero Beach

• Alma Lee Loy Bridge in Vero Beach

• Fort Pierce Inlet, 905 Shorewinds Drive

• Blind Creek Beachside North and South, South Ocean Drive or SR A1A on Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce

• Blue Heron Beach, 2101 Blue Heron Blvd., Fort Pierce

• Frederick Douglass Memorial Park, 3600 S. Ocean Drive, Fort Pierce

• Dollman Park Beachside, 9200 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach

• Herman's Bay Beach, 7880 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach

• John Brooks Park Beachside, 3300 S Ocean Drive, Fort Pierce

• Middle Cove Beach, 4600 South Ocean Drive, Fort Pierce

• Normandy Beach in Jensen Beach

• Pepper Park Beachside, 3302 N. SR A1A, Fort Pierce

• Walton Rocks Beach, which has a dog park, 6700 South Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach

• Waveland Beach, 10350 S. Ocean Drive, Jensen Beach

• House of Refuge and beach, 301 S.E. MacArthur Blvd., Stuart

• State Road A1A causeway in Stuart

Rick Neale is a Space Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY (for more of his stories, click here.) Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter/X: @RickNeale1

This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Rocket launch near Kennedy Space Center, Florida: About NASA Starliner