Today was a monumental day for two reasons. Today was the first rocket launch my wife and I had ever seen which just so happened to be United Launch Alliance's 100th launch. The goal of the mission was to launch a Mexican communications satellite from an Atlas V rocket into orbit to provide better internet stability throughout Mexico, especially in rural regions.
We woke up at about 5:00 a.m. pumped for the 6:09 a.m. scheduled launch. As we arrived at the Cocoa Beach Pier, dozens of friendly faces greeted us as did FREE launch t-shirts (which I thought was the neatest thing). Rocket launches can be seen all up and down the Space Coast, depending on weather of course, but many locals told me that one of the best ways to view the launch would be from the pier.
As we made our way down the pier we saw the bright light from the launch pad in the distance, a telltale sign of what was to come. We waited with cameras in hand in anticipation and put on a live stream of the launch so we could make sure we didn't miss anything. At 6:28 a.m. just as rain started to roll in, the rocket blasted off on its journey to space. As the glowing orange fireball rocketed through the atmosphere, maybe 15-20 seconds after launch, a series of loud booms echoed through the sky to which the crowd clapped and cheered.
If you have never witnessed a rocket launch in person, I would highly recommend you to do so especially as rockets evolve and become more technologically advanced. What we saw today was a small piece of history that will have a huge impact on how one country connects to the rest of the world.
Marshall T. Hooks
Cocoa Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce
Convention and Visitors Bureau