Despite the death-toll of 100,000 people in the United States due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 150,000 people gathered on the space coast of Florida to watch the astronauts launching attempt made by SpaceX.
SpaceX launched Crew Dragon Spacecraft with Two Veteran NASA Astronauts
On 27th May, SpaceX made its first attempt to launch astronauts from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in space. They launched the spacecraft as part of the Demo-2 test flight to the International Space Station. Unfortunately, they had to delay the launch till Saturday due to bad weather forecast.
Although there are still high risks of the Covid-19 pandemic in Florida, about 150,000 people arrived at the spot to view the launch event. They didn’t even care about the stormy weather and a tornado warning.
An official from Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism said that they were still running cell phone data and other reports to estimate additional insight along with the no. of viewers that gathered at the event in person.
Before the launch, NASA made a public announcement to warn people against the spread of the pandemic and urged them to stay home and watch the launch virtually on NASA TV. They also made arrangements for a full launch coverage live on their channel. Even then, the people gathered on the site and didn’t care about social distancing.
Though Kennedy Space Center was not open to visitors for the SpaceX launch event yesterday, its visitor center was reopened to the public the next day. NASA scheduled the big reopening of the facility after the SpaceX launch. But people were still desperate to get a peek of the event. So, they came in droves and packed into the nearby beaches of Florida and the causeway.
The images of the event show that the crowds of spectators filled the highway lanes and caused serious traffic jams on their drives home following the launch delay. It showed that if this launch didn’t take place during a pandemic, more than 500,000 people could’ve been expected on the space coast to view the launch.
The restrictions in Florida that were imposed to prevent the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, has just begun to loosen. Business places and public spaces like beaches have already been reopened. However, it’s yet to be seen if people would reach Kennedy coming Saturday for the next launch date.