Spectators camp out for historic Artemis I launch

·2 min read

Crowds started to form Sunday ahead of the historic Artemis I launch, especially at Kirk Point Park in Titusville.

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People have parked their cars and campers up and down the side of the road, with a determination to be present for the launch Monday morning, no matter what.

Read: NASA: Artemis is still a go despite several lightning strikes near the launchpad

Terry and Claudia Downs said they drove their camper to Titusville from the Villages and when they found out about the mission to the moon, they jumped at the chance to see it.

They said they wouldn’t miss the launch for the world.

“It’s amazing that they’re gonna go back to the moon, you know,” Claudia Downs said. “And there’s nobody on there, but still, we’re sending the shuttle off to the moon.”

If the launch is successful, the next rocket heading to the moon will have a crew on it.

Read: Space Coast drivers should expect traffic issues during launch of Artemis I at KSC

Terry Downs said they were in high school when they watched a man go to the moon for the first time.

But the couple is not concerned about the weather. They said they will sit through a storm for a chance to watch history.

And finding the perfect place to set up shop is no easy feat.

“It takes a lot of work to come over here and hope that you can find a spot,” Claudia Downs said.

Read: Official countdown for Artemis I mission has begun

Terry Downs has some knowledge of sending stuff into space. He had a job in Alabama where he helped work on the space shuttle’s external tank.

Lucas Gorentz said he was willing to do just about anything to catch a glimpse of the rocket’s glow, complete with his car and tent, as long as the rain holds out.

“This is the biggest operational rocket right now, and it’s been in the works for over a decade, coming off the heels of the shuttle,” he said.

While it may have been a small crowd on the Space Coast, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to see the Artemis I launch.

And for Terry and Claudia Downs, there’s nothing better than this major moment.

The launch has a two-hour window that will open at 8:33 a.m. Monday.

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