CAPE CANAVERAL--It has taken half an hour to wiggle my way through the throng on Jetty Park pier to just within sight of the spacecraft. Someone's elbow is in my back, and a space junkie keeps blocking my view as he bobs up to check the tripod on his huge telephoto camera. But this is as close as I'm getting to launchpad 17-B. Lesson one for rocket watching: arrive early.
Stake out your spot well ahead of time, even if, as it is tonight, the event is scheduled for a few strokes before midnight and thunderstorms are lighting the late June sky just offshore. Even if T minus zero has been postponed so many times (four so far) that only lucky or very persistent tourists could add this spectacle to their vacation at nearby Kennedy Space Center or Disney World. And even if the payload includes no astronauts, just a large robotic rover.
This article was originally published with the title Waiting for Liftoff.