Thursday, October 11, 2007

Launch Tickets have arrived!

The ticket package you receive when purchasing space shuttle launch viewing including launch transportation tickets (ltt).Finally my tickets for launch viewing have arrived! Getting hold of these tickets was quite complicated. I knew when the were offered for sale and I knew what I was heading for -- but tickets sell out very quickly every time.

What you want to get are "launch transportation tickets" or ltt's for short. These allow you onto the NASA causeway where you have an unobstructed view of the launch complex. It is also the closest place you can get to without having a VIP pass (and being German, obtaining a VIP pass is more than problematic - aka "forget about it". US citizens may approach their Senator to obtain them, which is known to work).

I was quick enough to purchase some ltts, but only together with the "breakfast with an astronaut" package. The breakfast is at 5:30am, so this was the least demanded ticket and probably the cause I could get hold of it.

Ever since I purchased them I was eager to get them into my hands. I inquired at Kennedy Space Center when they may be shipped. The answer was October, 8th - and I hoped that they would arrive in time, given that it was international shipment and I intend to leave home on the 19th. The KSC folks assured me that tickets were send via express courier, so there should be no need to worry (besides, of course, the hefty shipping fee).

What should I say - they were absolutely right. Yesterday (!), I received a nice package via UPS containing my full ticket set. That was exactly two days to reach me - well done, folks. I didn't blog yesterday about it because I was so occupied with Discovery's leading edge problem.

I have take a picture of the ticket set, just in case you are interested and have not yet seen any. Click the link to obtain a hires version which will get you the details. There, you'll see the big car placard, which must be placed on your dashboard to gain access to Kennedy Space center. Then, there is a small information page (with the big black bar on it) that covers everything you need to know. And finally, there are three small tickets: one gets you access to KSC at launch day, one is for your breakfast and finally there is the LTT, which gets you to NASA causeway, the public launch viewing spot. And now I have all of them in my hands :).

I am quite happy now: the tickets were more or less the last item on my go/no go list. Also, it again looks like Discovery will launch inside the scheduled launch window. What more can I ask for? Wish me luck that things will remain on this good track ...

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Armando Perdomo said...

Congratulations! I am really glad you are getting everything in order. It must be a great joy for you. On the other side, I am having a big sadness because I received my tickets today but they sent me tickets to see the launch from the KSC Visitor Complex. It wasn't what I was expecting, even buying it one month before the launch. So, I will be in Titusville instead the KSC Visitor Complex. I paid 55.28 dollars for nothing! Plus hotel, etc...
BTW, maybe you can help me creating a group in flickr and collect pictures about this launch. At the end you will have pictures from the Causeway and me from Titusville.

Rainer said...

Hi Armando,

oops - that's bad news. But the tickets also entitle you to visit KSC before and after the launch. Maybe that's an option for your to save some money. Views from Titusville (and even KSC Visitor Complex) are NOT bad - so don't be too disappointed. And if you really don't like to go to the Visitor Center, you may want to sell the tickts on ebay - they are sold out, so I guess chances to sell them are good. And if you throw in even more money, you can get LTTs from Grayline Orlando, together with transportation from the Orlando area. They magically always have some left...

Regarding flickr, that's a great idea. I am not so flickr-literate, but will try to see what I can do :)

My best wishes!

Armando Perdomo said...

Thanks for your words...I am feeling better. I can't sell them because in the package there is a sheet with this info:

All tickets are Non-Refundable.

Resale of admission tickets is strictly prohibited. In the event DNC discovers that KSCVC admission tickets have been resold contrary to FLA. Stat 817.36, DNC will refer such illegal resales to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.

So, yes I can go to KSC after the launch but I don't think it would be a good idea with that traffic. I am preparing myself for the next mission STS-122 and now see it from Titusville.

Cheers, Armando

Rainer said...

oops ... I have overlooked that clause (probably because I never considered that option ;)). You are right, this is a no-go. It would be really nice if KSC Visitor Complex offered an official way for ticket resales. This was especially frustrating last year with STS-115. Lot's of people said that couldn't wait any longer, but there were still no way to obtain their launch transportation tickets. If they'd require resale via their system, they still could control what's happening with the tickets (I am using a similar system over here to sell my Joe Cocker tickets that I had for the 28th ;)).

Anyhow... It is as it is ;)

Do you plan to drive over for "just" the launch day?


Armando Perdomo said...

I am agree! I call to KSC like three times looking for a solutions but nothing. At least that ticket paid their salaries. ;-)
I checked out your ideas about Orlando tours, etc but I don't trust on deals at the end. Unbelievable, I found websites selling VIP tickets! For sure they are trying to scam somebody.
About me, I'm thinking go to the KSC the day before the launch to get the Nasa up close tour. I'll be around two days more after the launch. I had to request a couple of days off and reserve a hotel so I'm considering use them to rest.

Cheers, Armando.

Rainer said...

Yes, there is a lot of crap and fakes about the tickets on the web. Grayline Orlando and Dolphin tours, however, seems to be a valid choice. They are suggested from the KSC Visitor Complexes ticket sales site:

The bad thing about them, however, is that they are quite expensive. And, of course, you loose everything if the launch is scrubbed (that's true with the LTTs, too, but you loose later in the day, so your chances are higher that the launch is scrubbed before your ticket is used). I seriously considered Grayline when I visited last summer and had no LTTs, but dropped that idea because of the price. Plus, the experience inside KSC Main Complex is probably not bad at all (though the launch viewing is obstructed). I guess I put a note with some pictures from last year together later in the day...

Rainer said...

As promised, I did a full write-up on the tour operators. I am posting this link so that new readers can directly find it:

Viewing a space launch via tour operators

If you tried that path, I'd love to hear your real-world experience.