Now days one can watch the shuttle launches live on electronic media or go to the Kennedy Space Center and have a virtual experience.
In 80s the Dixie Queen cashed in on shuttle launches.
On every shuttle-launch date, a paddle wheel replica of Dixie Queen took off from its dock just south of Seabreeze Causeway in Daytona Beach. It headed down the Intra-coastal Waterway and would stop about 5 miles off shore from the launch site at Cape Canaveral.
About 150 passengers would pay $75 each for the ride, food, entertainment and one of the closest views of the launch possible.
How close is it?
Very close, said the owner of the Dixie Queen.
What time is the launch today?
It is due any time now.
The shuttle rose slowly and silently riding a pillar of fire that seemed as bright as the sun.
An earthquake-like vibration shook us and suddenly we felt the roar and crackle of the engines. The sensation can only be experienced. A strong sound wave and a very loud wind rush through the boat.
The owner could never really forget the plume of challenger as it broke apart seconds in to the flight.
Challenger explosion – plume