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Where to go to watch a rocket launch into space this summer

What do you usually take photos of on holiday?

A particularly artful pasta dish? Your other half attempting to line up their hand so it looks like they're touching that famous landmark (you jokers)? 

How about a rocket blasting off from Earth into the far-flung distances of space? Thought not - but it sounds pretty cool, right?

Space.com has put together a guide on all the upcoming launches that you'll be able to see in person, providing a photo opportunity with a difference. 

Grab your diary, check your passport is in date and pick from the best of the upcoming launches. 

  • Where to go to watch a rocket launch into space this summer

    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station

    Home of the Kennedy Space Centre, there's a bunch of activities to entertain space fans on Florida's Space Coast while you're waiting for blast off. 

    If you want an unspoilt view of a take off, the Kennedy Space Centre offers official viewing access for most launches - with announcements coming from this official email newsletter

    Didn't get a ticket? Don't worry - you can still get pretty amazing views from Playalinda Beach and Port Canaveral: while your view of the initial lift-off will be obscured, you'll be in a great place to see the rocket arc into the skies. Here are some upcoming Cape Canaveral launches to stick in the diary:

    4 June: A daytime launch of a classified US spy satellite up into orbit from launch site SLC-37B.

    24 June: SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will head to the International Space Station (ISS) carrying a supply run. This should be a daytime launch

    27 July: An Atlas 5 rocket will carry a US military missile-warning-detection satellite into orbit from launch site SLC-41.

    1 August: Another SpaceX mission to take supplies to the ISS 

    4 August: Two US Air Force satellites will be put into orbit by a Delta IV rocket from launch site SLC-37B.

    It's VERY important to note that space launches can and do change their timings: weather, technical hitches and other factors can push back launch changes by days or weeks. Keep on top of things with the Spaceflight Now calendar.

  • Where to go to watch a rocket launch into space this summer 1

    Wallops Flight Facility

    Located on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the Wallops Flight Facility has been putting things in the skies since 1945. Six launch pads cater for rockets small and large - with viewings possible without a ticket.

    Check out this map for the best places to watch a launch, and be aware that it's a 'first come, first served' system: if the site is full, you'll have to watch from the road. Get there early. 

    23 June: A much smaller sounding launch will take place at 6am, launching a payload designed by students. 

    24 June: The current date given for the Orbital ATK's Antares rocket to take a cargo ship filled with supplies to the ISS. 

  • Where to go to watch a rocket launch into space this summer 2

    Vandenberg Air Force Base

    Located 9.2 miles northwest of Lompoc, California, this is a trickier place to watch launches owing to the mountainous nature of the region - but it's still pretty impressive to see rockets popping up on the horizon, heading into the big blue.

    The best place to watch launches is from Corral Road near Vandenberg's main gate - you can get more details here.

    Because of the closed nature of this site, launches are rarely given specific dates - but there are two set to take place this summer:

    June: SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket will launch various tiny 'cubesats' and a satellite for Taiwan's National Space Organization.

    July: Another SpaceX's Falcon 9 will launch 10 communications satellites as part of the Iridium Next satellite fleet. 

    Once again, check Spaceflight Now before you go making holiday plans. 

    (Images: NASA, Space X)

    [Via: Space.com]

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