Comments21/08/2016 #18 Anonymous@William VanDorin - It is the dark side of the hope inherent in Space exploration that is troubling. I like your profile words, about transcending limitations. My hope is that the darkness of war leads humans to transcend the collective fearful limitations of the mind. Because there is beauty all around us.21/08/2016 #17 Phil Friedman#9 #9 @Dean Owen - I can't speak for NASA, although I believe that the Cape Canaveral site was originally chosen at a time before the space program was that big. Moreover, in the U.S. commond sense has nothing to do with it. Congressional influence on the appropriations committee does, for where the launch site goes, so do money and jobs to the surrounding community. At the height of the program, the Titusville area grew to more than 40,000, whereas now it is pretty much a ghost town at 5,000 or less. The Cape offered, moreover, convenient location near a port, plus the ability to isolate the facility for security reasons (except when we used to run up the Banana River from Eau Gallie in an inflatable sport boat and get to within a 1/4 mile of the launch site.). Keep in mind, as well, that a rocket is not ingesting air as does a jet engine, and so is not likely to be choked out by sucking in a flock of birds. Whether striking some birds is structurally risky, I really don't know, but doubt it. Not an attitude that puts wildlife first, admittedly, but then we don't locate our cities in the deserts where they will not disturb native animal populations. Cheers!20/08/2016 #13 William VanDorinIt is a spectacle full of thunder and power put on for the public perception of what is possible. Sadly, this does not reflect the true state of our technology, which is exclusively the realm of black ops projects militarized and weaponized. We are a full fifty years beyond this in our spacecraft propulsion systems which do not use explosive force for a means of reaching, or navigating space. There exists zero point field propulsion and magnetic field manipulation systems which render Einstein's speed restrictions regarding mass irrelevant.20/08/2016 #10 Pamela L. Williams#9 All launches are done over open water because of the dangers associated with a failed launch. The Challenger explosion threw debris a couple of miles away. After Challenger numerous rockets either exploded on their own and had to be destroyed because they went off course. Considering the speed at which they are traveling and the amount of fuel required to launch them and get them into space there is too much risk. They could explode over a town before mission control realized there was an issue, it happens that quick. Many rockets are launched off Naval vessels in the middle of the ocean.20/08/2016 #9 Dean Owen#6 #7 #8 You are all right. This photo was taken from across the river. But there have been a number of documented encounters where wildlife has struck an ascending shuttle. -http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/roadkill.html View more#6 #7 #8 You are all right. This photo was taken from across the river. But there have been a number of documented encounters where wildlife has struck an ascending shuttle. -http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/shuttle/behindscenes/roadkill.html Given the risk to wildlife and crew, wouldn't it make sense to not do launches next to a river? Close20/08/2016 #8 Pamela L. Williams#7 You're absolutely right Phil, They do keep the areas clear, as much as possible, of wildlife. But wildlife will do what they do. This was probably taken from across the river on the viewing lawns. I sat there when my daughter was 3 weeks old to watch the launch of the Columbia, the first launch after the Challenger explosion. I worked on Patrick AFB, which is the support base for the launches. The Air Rescue squadron was sometimes tasked with flying in the area prior to the launches to scare off birds. If you ever paid attention (who would with a launch) they were usually flying over the ocean several miles out when a launch took place. How do I know? For morning launches we (the dining facility) had to have a full breakfast hot and ready for them at 4 AM. High protein steak and eggs all the way!20/08/2016 #7 Phil Friedman#2 Over several years, I worked serially on a number of on-site contract assignments in Titusville, FL, directly across the Indian River (which is actually an ocean sound) from the NASA Cape Canaveral launch site. And I've watched a number of launches, including the historic last night launch made under the NASA program. There is a lot of wildlife in the area, especially gulls, cormorants, pelicans, and other birds. But to the best of my knowledge,, steps ARE taken to keep the launch site clear of birds. Judging from the relative image size of the birds, they are way in the foreground of an image taken from quite far away with a really long lense. In other words althogh they appear at first glance to be at the launch site, they are a fair distance away. And have probably been raised to flight by the noise and the notably high level of vibration carried through the ground and water, enough to rattle glasses on a table several miles distant from the launch pad. Cheers!20/08/2016 #6 AnonymousI am so glad you noticed that @Dean Owen. I live near the 'Space Coast' of FL and my favorite beach is on the protected Canaveral National Seashore where you can see NASA in the distant background - no condos, no other buildings whatsoever. The first time I visited NASA, I was very surprised at all the wildlife that abounded the premises. It is sad, but it makes once consider the consequences of human 'progress'.