“The plan is to drive very early in the morning and find a spot” at Cocoa Beach, she said, not far from the Kennedy Space Center.
“I know it will be from a long distance, but I still think it will be a sight to behold,” Bostandji told AFP as the family waited to enter a park dedicated to space exploration.
The traffic jam is expected to begin at 4 a.m., with departure scheduled at 8:33 a.m. (1233 GMT).
And even more people could turn up if the launch faces a weather delay, as the make-up date falls on the weekend.
Sabrina Morley was able to find an apartment to rent not far from the beach and plans to bring her two children and several dozen other people on a boat chartered for the occasion by a company called Star Fleet Tours.
For $95 a ticket, “we’ll go out on the ocean as close as they can get to the launch and we’ll watch the launch from the boat,” she said.
“I’ve never been this close to a launch before,” said the 43-year-old, who grew up in Orlando, less than an hour away.
As a child, she could see spaceships rising from her yard, like “a ball of orange smoke” rising into the sky.
“We’d hear voices,” she recalled.
Morley likes that NASA’s Artemis program aims to land a woman on the moon for the first time, with a crew going up in 2025 at the earliest.
“Representation matters,” she said, glancing at her two-year-old daughter, who already wears a replica astronaut helmet on her head.
Good for business
The return of prestigious space launches is an economic boon for the region. According to the tourism office, a family of three will spend an average of $1,300 for four or five days.
On the main road to Merritt Island, the peninsula where the Kennedy Space Center is located, Brenda Mulberry’s space memorabilia shop is packed with tourists.
Once inside, visitors are greeted with Artemis T-shirts for sale, printed in-house — there were 1,000 copies made on Saturday alone.
It has seen an influx of customers in recent days, Mulberry, who founded Space Shirts in 1984, told AFP.
“They’re just excited, I think, to see a NASA launch, because the private space business is not that motivating for people,” she said.
This rocket, called the SLS — a large model of which is displayed outside her store — “belongs to the people,” Mulberry said.
“It’s their rocket. It’s not a SpaceX rocket,” she added.
“My family, they had to go to the neighbor’s house to watch (the Apollo missions) because they didn’t have a television,” said Bostandji, who was not yet born.
“Now we will see it with hope for truth.”