TITUSVILLE, Fla. — We are less than a week away from a historic May 27 launch on Florida's Space Coast, and despite this age of social distancing, police are preparing for big crowds.
What You Need To Know
- 1st crewed launch from US since 2011 scheduled for May 27
- Titusville Police preparing traffic plans to get people in, out of area
- COMPLETE COVERAGE: Destination Space
SpaceX's Demo-2 mission will send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station, the first crewed launch from American soil since 2011.
Despite NASA urging people to watch the launch from home, Titusville Police have a traffic plan in place to get people in and out of the area on launch day, monitoring busy corridors like U.S. Highway 1, State Road 406, the Max Brewer Bridge, and surrounding parks.
"We've rolled out all of our personnel to work this event," said Lt. Tyler Wright of the Titusville Police Department.
The main focus is post-launch, when people will be leaving the area en masse.
The Space Coast Office of Tourism offered tips for space fans who plan to head to the Space Coast for the rocket launch. Because traffic coming and going will be a big issue, the office is advising drivers to having a full tank of gas and pack snacks and water.
“Have a plan in place when you're ready to leave,” Wright said.
Intersections will be staffed for the flow out of the city. Officers will be visible to slow down motorists. Police have also called in Road Rangers and Florida Highway Patrol troopers to help with disabled vehicles and traffic flow.
Police don't want another tragedy like the one on April 2, 2018, after the first SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch, which drew large crowds. A family of four visiting from the United Kingdom was killed after investigators say their GPS directed the driver to do a U-turn in heavy traffic. Another vehicle crashed into them.
Wayne Lindsey has called Titusville home for more than 30 years. He's witnessed dozens of shuttle launches, including the last one in 2011.
"It's been a long time since people left the area to go back up to space," he said.
Lindsey remembers the huge crowds that the final shuttle launch brought to town. Despite social distancing these days, he's sure crowds will come again for next week's first crewed launch in almost a decade.
"It's kind of unpredictable how many people we will have,” Lindsey said.
Police are urging pedestrians to use crosswalks and not cross roadways.
Also keep in mind: Parking on causeways and highway shoulders is not allowed. And per CDC guidelines, keep the viewing groups to 10 people of less.
Traffic maps from the Titusville Police Department:
Max Brewer Bridge
North of Harrison Street
South of Harrison Street