How to watch the UAE's Rashid rover Moon mission launch and what time will it be?

The rover is scheduled to lift off on December 1

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The UAE will be launching several missions from Florida this and next year, including the Arab world’s first mission to the Moon on December 1.

All of them will lift off using SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from one of the few active launch pads on the Space Coast.

Lunar rover Rashid, stored inside Japanese company ispace’s Hakuto-R Mission 1 lander, is scheduled to launch from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Thursday, December 1, at 12.37pm GST

A Falcon 9 rocket will also launch Emirati astronaut Sultan Al Neyadi early next year from the Kennedy Space Centre.

And MBZ-Sat, expected to be the region’s most powerful imaging satellite, will also launch on a Falcon 9 late next year.

With several Emirati missions coming up, The National explains best spots to watch launches at the Space Coast, or online.

Jetty Park Rocket Launch View Point

One of the most popular spots to watch a rocket launch in Florida is from the Jetty Park beach and fishing pier. At the Cape Canaveral site there is a beach, campground and a fishing pier, and plenty of bathrooms. Photo: Visit Space Coast

One of the most popular spots to watch a rocket launch is from the Jetty Park beach and fishing pier.

The site in Cape Canaveral has a beach, campground and a fishing pier, and plenty of bathrooms.

The park is only 17 kilometres from Launch Complex 40 ― the pad where the UAE’s Moon mission will lift off.

Launch Complex 39A ― where Dr Al Neyadi will probably take off from ― is about 22 kilometres away.

The clear views of the launch sites makes this location a popular spot with photographers and film crews.

A day pass to enter the park costs $16 (Dh58.77) per vehicle.

Cocoa Beach, south of Cape Canaveral, is also a popular viewing spot.

Alan Shepard Park

Named after the first American astronaut, the Alan Shepard Park is south of the launch pads.

It is an oceanfront park with more than 300 parking spaces, picnic areas, playgrounds, showers and bathrooms.

The area is popular with tourists and has many retail shops within walking distance.

The parking fee for Shepard Park is $2.50 (Dh9) an hour or $15 (Dh55) a day.

Watch while on a boat

If you want unobstructed views of a launch and want to avoid crowds, there are boat tours available specifically to view rocket launches.

Prices could range from $50 (Dh183) to $100 (Dh367) per person, depending on which company you choose and how popular the upcoming launch is.

Barry Pendley captains boats for the Banana Boat River Tours, which offer rocket launch viewing.

Barry Pendley was born in Cape Canaveral and has lived there his entire life. His father worked in the Apollo programme and he worked in the Space Shuttle programme for many years. Photo: Sarwat Nasir / The National

“We can load six people at a time and we run two boats,” he said.

“It seems that the manned missions draw a lot more people or the Moon missions.”

Boats are not allowed to enter the restricted areas.

While on a helicopter

An ultimate way to watch a rocket launch is from a helicopter.

There are companies on the Space Coast that offer the service, and fly just outside the restricted airspace.

Choppers can take you as high as 1,129 metres, allowing you to see the rocket blast off from above.

Beachside Helicopters is one company that offers this experience.

They charge $250 (Dh918) per person, which includes a viewing of the launch, flight along the cruise ships of Port Canaveral and a tour of Cocoa Beach.

If the launch includes a rocket re-entry, the chopper will hold in place until the booster rockets return and make their landing back at the Kennedy space complex.

Live stream by SpaceX

If you prefer to watch online, SpaceX usually always offers a free live stream of the launch, unless the mission has a military client that has requested that the launch not be broadcast.

It is live streamed on SpaceX’s social media channels and its official website.

Updated: November 30, 2022, 10:15 AM